Dreaming About The Senate

Why Democrats think they have a shot at taking it back, with hot candidates from Alaska to Illinois

Barack Obama knows his background is about as unconventional as Illinois voters will probably ever see in a Senate candidate. He was born in Hawaii, the son of a Kenyan economist and a white mother from Kansas, and spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia. His last name rhymes with Osama. So he begins every campaign speech with the question on the audience's mind: "How does a skinny guy with a funny name win an election?"

His self-effacing confidence and good looks charm the crowds, and the fans he has won have made the 42-year-old Chicago lawyer and three-term state...

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