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AN ABSENT TSONGAS GARNERS 20%

Paul Tsongas got 20 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary in Connecticut even though he wasn't running.

"It shows you what happens when I don't campaign," the former Massachusetts senator said in a telephone interview from his home in Lowell. "I think next time I won't run."On a more serious note, Tsongas said, "If the Democrats have any sense they'll realize the candidate's out, but the message lives on. They have to move toward that message."

Former campaign manager Dennis Kanin said Tsongas had begun attending fund-raisers since he dropped out of the race last week to erase a campaign debt Kanin estimated at about $500,000.

Meanwhile, insurgent groups of Tsongas supporters have established a toll-free telephone number and formed organizations in 24 states, said Roger Trudeau, founder of Tcitizen Tsoldiers for Tsongas.

"I think it's wonderful because all the big newspapers told people not to vote for Paul because they'd be wasting their vote," said Janet Ritchie, co-founder of the group. "We want to have somebody in the White House that our kids can look up to."

"Just because he made an announcement and dropped out doesn't mean he's not still viable," said Francyne Rosenstock, New York organizer of the group.