Americans elect a president tomorrow, of course, but they also (well, not those of us who live in Washington, D.C., but the rest of you) elect a Senate, and there are some interesting races. One of the most interesting is in Minnesota where a real comedian (we've had lots of unintentional ones in Congress, of course), a professional, Democrat Al Franken is running against incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. It's supposed to be close.
Then there's New Hampshire, where former governor Jeanne Shaheen is running against Republican incumbent John Sununu, who beat her six years ago. She's led most polls, but again it's close.
You may remember Morris Udall, a Democratic Congressman from Arizona for thirty years or so. His Democratic family is all over the west--Representative Mark Udall is favored in Colorado, where Republican Wayne Allard is retiring. Representative Tom Udall is thought to be leading Steve Pierce in New Mexico, where Republican Pete Domenici is retiring.
Incumbents are usually favored. In Arkansas the Republicans never found a candidate. Mark Pryor only has to beat the Green Party nominee. In Georgia, Republican Saxby Chambliss is running against former Congressman Jim Martin, who would need a heavy black turnout to have a chance. Louisiana's Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is thought to lead Republican John Kennedy (how does a Republican with that name campaign?) but it's close--her races always are.
In South Dakota, Democratic incumbent Tom Johnson, who's recovering from a brain aneurysm, is favored.
Alaska's different: longtime Republican incumbent Ted Stevens, convicted on seven counts of failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts, is running against the mayor of Anchorage, Jim Begich. No one seems quite sure how that one will turn out.
Most of the forecasts have the Democrats gaining some seats. They hope to get sixty--enough votes to cut off Republican filibusters. But they'll have to win just about all the close ones to do that.
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