The Nader Factor?

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Democrats are warning their party faithful not to jump on Ralph Nader's presidential bandwagon. That even includes Howard Dean, who just last week abandoned his own campaign for the White House.

Nader announced his candidacy as an independent over the weekend on "meet the press".

Democrats fear Nader could pull votes away from their party's eventual nominee and give President Bush a second term.

A local political expert says that could happen in a close race.

"That's too early to tell," says Jackie DeLaat, a professor of Political Science at Marietta College. "Right now, the Democrats are leading in the polls, and they don't want anything that will cut their margin down."

DeLaat says long-time followers of Nader, who gained fame in the 1960's and '70s as a consumer advocate, may be disappointed that he's taken his cause to the political arena.

"I always thought of him as an independent voice (rather than a political one)," DeLaat says.

Nader ran for the presidency in 2000 as a member of the Green Party.