Features

East and South

Scorecard | Some races that are expected to be close

Issue: "Demsnami," Nov. 4, 2006

House races

Florida-16

Disgraced Florida congressman Mark Foley seemed to be cruising to reelection prior to the page scandal. With the deadline to switch names from the ballot already passed, his replacement, Joe Negron, won't even get his name on the ballot. Instead he will need to convince conservatives to pull the lever for Foley to prevent Democrat Tim Mahoney from stealing a stalwart conservative district.

  • Negron (R)
  • Mahoney (D)

New York-26

Prior to the Foley revelations, most political experts didn't even consider veteran Republican Tom Reynolds' race to be competitive. But when Democrats began charging that Reynolds, the chairman of the GOP's reelection campaign, didn't do enough to stop Foley, the race became a dead heat. Opponent Jack Davis even launched a television ad campaign charging that Reynolds "knew that Congressman Mark Foley was a predator."

  • Reynolds (R)
  • Davis (D)

Pennsylvania-7

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Suburban Philadelphia congressman Curt Weldon faces one of his toughest elections ever while an ethics cloud descends on the veteran Republican. Earlier in October, the FBI raided his daughter's home and office on a tip that Weldon may have used his office to help his daughter secure lobbying contracts. Controversy aside (Weldon maintains his innocence), the Republican trounced his Democratic opponent Joseph Sestak in an October debate.

  • Weldon (R)
  • Sestak (D)

North Carolina-11

Democrats can only hope Heath Shuler is a better candidate on Election Day than an NFL player. The former University of Tennessee quarterback and NFL draft bust moved back to Western North Carolina and challenged incumbent Republican Charles Taylor. Despite a lack of political experience, Shuler threatens to knock off Taylor, who has been weakened by ethics controversies.

  • Taylor (R)
  • Shuler (D)

Connecticut-4

In Connecticut, anti-war activists have found their dream candidate in Diane Farrell. While Republican Christopher Shays now says the United States needs to develop a timetable for the removal of troops from Iraq, his opponent was marching in peace rallies before war even broke out. Farrell says she will "hold the president accountable" if elected.

  • Shays (R)
  • Farrell (D)

Connecticut-2

Like his fellow Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays, Rep. Rob Simmons' Election Day fortunes may ride on his ability to deflect Democratic attacks linking him directly to President Bush. The district normally trends toward Democrats in national elections, but Simmons has been able to carve a niche for himself since his election in 2000. Opponent Joe Courtney has criticized the Republican for his support of Bush's prescription drug benefit.

  • Simmons (R)
  • Courtney (D)

Governor races

Maryland

Democrats thought they had defeated GOP Gov. Bob Ehrlich back in 2002. But that's before the hard-charging Republican closed quickly and managed a come-from-behind victory. Seemingly behind once again, Ehrlich opened up the coffers in the closing weeks to launch an ad campaign hammering away at opponent Martin O'Malley's record as the mayor of Baltimore.

  • Ehrlich (R)
  • O'Malley (D)

Florida

With Democrats still longing to win Florida after the 2000 election debacle, Republican Charlie Crist seems ready to make a powerful statement. Months ago, liberals thought Democratic candidate Jim Davis could be a winner. But when Davis' money dried up in early September, Crist, the former state attorney general, was able to pound the Florida airwaves with TV ads without much of a rebuttal by Davis.

  • Crist (R)
  • Davis (D)

Senate races

Virginia

Who knows what would have happened had Sen. George Allen never called a Democratic cameraman a dubious and obscure racial epithet. And it can't help that Virginia grows bluer by the day as the liberal suburbs of Washington, D.C., encroach even further into the Old Dominion. Nevertheless, Allen's Democratic challenger, Jim Webb, perhaps peaked back in September.

  • Allen (R)
  • Webb (D)

Pennsylvania

In Bob Casey Jr. Democrats have found a candidate they think will neutralize incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum's socially conservative base of support between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Casey, the son of the popular late Pennsylvania governor, opposes gun control legislation and takes a pro-life position on abortion-two issues that have helped Santorum since he won the Senate seat in 1994.

  • Santorum (R)
  • Casey (D)

Maryland

Michael Steele may not pull off the big upset and defeat Democrat Ben Cardin in liberal Maryland, but the state attorney general's charisma and skillful campaigning have brought him within striking distance of the Democrat-something very few pundits expected after the primaries. Cardin's advertisements have tried to tie Steele to Bush, who is generally unpopular in Maryland.

  • Steele (R)
  • Cardin (D)

New Jersey

Incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez has spent much more than his Republican challenger, Tom Kean Jr., but Kean, son of former Republican Gov. Thomas Kean, seems to have successfully cast Menendez as another in a long line of corrupt New Jersey politicians. The 38-year-old Kean has served in the state legislature.

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