- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - Former state Attorney General Scott Harshbarger says he is leaving the Democratic party, at least temporarily, to help another political party get off the ground in Massachusetts.

The 1998 Democratic nominee for governor announced Wednesday that he is joining the United Independent Party. He said he wants to help the party enroll 43,000 members so it can satisfy legal requirements for ballot access.

In a posting on the website of CommonWealth magazine, Harshbarger said the UIP could be a vehicle for independent-minded people to run against incumbent state legislators who are rarely challenged for re-election.

A lifelong Democrat, Harshbarger says he’ll probably return to his former party after the November election.

UIP founder and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk said on Facebook that he was honored by Harshbarger’s move.

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