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Independent gov candidate eyes dropout decision after debate

October 25, 2018 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The campaign of an independent candidate for governor of Maine said Thursday he’ll make a decision about whether to stay in the race after the next couple of debates.

Alan Caron is “focused now on preparing for the upcoming debates” scheduled for Thursday and Sunday, said the spokesman, Tom Bell. Bell said Caron would make a decision after the Sunday debate.

Polls show Caron trailing Republican businessman Shawn Moody and Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills significantly. Independent Terry Hayes, the state treasurer, is also lagging in polls, and has said she intends to keep running until Election Day.

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Caron is under pressure to withdraw from the race, in part because of a pledge he made earlier to drop out if he could not win. He wrote in an op-ed in the Portland Press Herald in March that he would “publicly withdraw from the race” by mid-October if it was clear that he could not win the election.

Caron’s op-ed cited the gubernatorial campaigns of Eliot Cutler in 2014 and Libby Mitchell in 2010. Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage won both of those multi-candidate elections with less than 50 percent of the vote.

Maine adopted ranked-choice voting through a referendum in 2016, but it does not apply to the governor’s race. Ranked-choice voting is a method designed to eliminate spoilers from tight contests.