SHARECOMMENTMORE

ALANNA DURKIN
Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Mainers should get used to the names LePage, Cutler and Michaud. For the next year, they'll be hearing them a lot.

In 2010, a dozen Republicans and Democrats jockeyed for their party's nomination. This time, the three-person race between Republican Gov. Paul LePage, Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and independent candidate Eliot Cutler seems to already be set a year before the 2014 election.

Primary challengers could still emerge but serious threats are unlikely.

Instead, political science experts say the next few months will be a competition between Michaud and Cutler for who is the better alternative to LePage.

Experts say having next year's ballot set early allows candidates to raise as much money as they can and ensure their grassroots organizations are established.

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