Who needs the Independence Party most of all?

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The Independence Party might be misleadingly named and confusingly organized.

But Christine Quinn wants its support when she runs for mayor this year. Bill Thompson considered seeking it, then said he wouldn't.

Michael Bloomberg ran three times with the party's backing:in 2009, the "Independence / Jobs & Education" line provided 56,934 votes for him, covering his margin of victory over Thompson, his Democratic opponent that year. 

So who's going to get the Independence line this time? 

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Jackie Salit, ahead of the New York City Independence Party, told New York 1's Courtney Gross that Adolfo Carrion Jr., the former White House director of urban affairs and former Bronx borough president who is now seeking the Republican nomination, is "surely" the leading candidate to get her party's nomination.

Carrion recently changed his party registation from Democrat to lowercase-I independent—meaning he's not enrolled in any party.

Carrion might in fact need the Independence Party line in order to get any line at all; the presumption is that if he secured the line it would serve to demonstrate his plausibility to the Republican chairs, three of whom would need to give him a Wilson-Pakula, since he's not a registered member of the party.

While the other prospective Republican candidates could find the Independence Party useful in the general, they probably don't need it as a prerequisite to the Republican nomination. 

Joe Lhota would likely create his own third party line. And John Catsimatidis, the billionaire supermarket magnate, could easily fund his own petition drive to create a third, fourth and fifth party line, and enough lawyers to defend it in court, if he wanted. He can also use his money to court the Republican chairs, without needing to prove anything by first winning the support of Salit's crew.

The Manhattan Republican chairman, Dan Isaacs, said the Independence Party's decision "is not going to dictate" who Republicans end up supporting. 

Isaacs said the Independence Party "could be trying to get ahead of us" and that "if it turns out the Independence Party chooses not to support the Republican nominee, there's the opportunity to create a third-party line."