The Washington Times - October 22, 2010, 06:54PM

It’s beginning to look a lot like “The Year of the Third-Party Candidate.” Two independent candidates for governor made significant gains this week on their Republican and Democratic rivals, according to newly released polls.

Colorado’s Tom Tancredo, the erstwhile Republican running as the American Constitution Party candidate for governor, has pulled to within one point of Democrat John Hickenlooper. A Magellan Data survey released Friday showed Mr. Hickenlooper leading Mr. Tancredo by 44 to 43 percent.


While Mr. Hickenlooper’s numbers have remained static, Mr. Tancredo has jumped from 17 to 43 percent since August in the Magellan poll. Meanwhile, Republican Dan Maes has dropped to 9 percent, meaning that the GOP could wind up with minor-party status unless the legislature changes the rules next year.

In Maine, the crowded governor’s race became even more claustrophobic as independent Eliot Cutler edged closer to overtaking Democrat Libby Mitchell. A Critical Insights survey showed Mr. Cutler moving up to 19 percent, while Mrs. Mitchell dropped to 20 percent. Republican Paul LePage leads the race with 32 percent.

The race features two other independent candidates, who polled together at 6 percent. The real eye-opener is the number of undecideds: A whopping 21 percent of voters haven’t made up their minds.