Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill is leaving the Democratic Party and is re-registering as unenrolled (independent). This is big news as Cahill is now better poised to make a gubernatorial run as an independent. Governor Patrick controls most of the levers of power in the State Democratic Party and the speculation is that Cahill would have trouble getting enough support at the party convention to secure a spot on next year's primary ballot.
This is mixed news for Republicans Charlie Baker and Christy Mihos If Cahill does make an independent run, the danger for Patrick is that conservative Democrats throw their support to Cahill and he loses critical blue-collar votes. The danger for Republicans is that Cahill siphons conservative Democrats and independents that would support a Republican candidate and splits the anti-Patrick vote.
Can Cahill win the election itself? My initial reaction is that it is unlikely, but if the Republicans nominate Mihos, I think he would have a better chance in winning independent votes. It also depends on how well he can raise money and build a political apparatus to win a fiercely contested race.
My gut tells me that this is more likely to split the anti-Patrick vote and won't hurt Patrick as badly as some may think...time will tell.