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With the Rhode Island primary approaching on September 12, Democratic Senate candidate Richard Licht has received endorsements from Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and automated phone calls have swamped the state with the voice of Congressman Patrick Kennedy telling voters he favors Licht.

But don't look for these endorsements to sway the electorate. Voters are very independent-minded these days and do not let politicians tell them how to vote. If endorsements were decisive, basketball star Michael Jordan's celebrity endorsement of Bill Bradley in the presidential primary would have swung voters. Each campaign, celebrities are trotted out to legitimize and strengthen particular candidates. Rarely are they very crucial to the election outcome.
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