Democrats and Republicans have each picked a state where they're hoping for a November Surprise and have begun pouring buzzer-beating money into Senate contests that have not been on anyone's toss-up list.
Is There Any Hope of Defeating Arnold?
Democrat Phil Angelides is way behind the California governor. Here are four keys to how he could (but probably won't) pull off a last-minute surprise
A Texas-Size Race for Governor
Thanks to an unusually crowded field, Governor Rick Perry will probably win reelection - but he may not have much to celebrate
A Republican in Trouble in Indiana
Incumbent John Hostettler has solid conservative credentials, and he voted against the Iraq war. A recipe for reelection? Think again
A Fight Over Affirmative Action in Michigan
The man behind the California racial preference ban is back at it again, this time in Michigan, where his ballot initiative could prevail over a strong, organized opposition
Courting Missouri's Moms
In one of three upper South statesthat Democrats need to win to take control of the Senate, the gender gap could make the difference
Tom DeLay's Gift to the Democrats
The controversial former House leader thought he could help the G.O.P. by getting out of this year's race. But his departure has thrown his home district into election chaos -- and very likely into the Democrats' hands
Fighting Dirty on the Net
Online political debate is not known for its subtlety--the blogosphere rewards the loudest voices and the brashest opinions...
The GOP Gets Nervous in Tennessee
In the race for the Senate, Harold Ford wasn't supposed to have much appeal outside his home base of Memphis. But now that he is in a virtual dead heat with his Republican opponent, the race is getting down and dirty
A Conservative Face-Off in Kentucky
Voters in this state's 4th congressional district have no problem with the values of Republican incumbent Geoff Davis. They have a problem with his party, and that's why his equally conservative Democratic challenger just may win
Playing the Victim in Louisiana
Democrat William Jefferson is a target of a federal corruption investigation and not welcome in his own party. But with the backing of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, he may just win reelection
The G.O.P.'s Firewall Strategy
With the Foley scandal increasing the likelihood of a Democratic win in the House, Republicans are turning their attention -- and money -- to the Senate
No Politics is Local in Ohio
Republican incumbent Deborah Pryce faces an uphill battle in her bellwether midwestern district, a clear sign that this is a very different kind of midterm election
Running from the GOP in New Jersey
In a race that may hold the key to control of the Senate, Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr. hopes to knock off a Democratic incumbent by keeping a distance from his own party
Pork Trumps Scandal in West Virginia
Democrat Alan Mollohan was supposed to be one ethically challenged incumbent that Republicans could beat. But so far, voters don't seem to agree
On the Attack in Illinois
The Incumbent governor and his Republican challenger compete to tar each other with the sins of the state's disgraced former chief executive
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For Democrats, the hope for an upset is Arizona, where incumbent Sen. Jon Kyl (R), has looked safe from the Democratic challenger, shopping mall developer Jim Pederson.
For Republicans, the long shot is Michigan, where the National Republican Senatorial Committee is throwing a $900,000 lifeline to Mike Bouchard, a sheriff challenging Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D).
In Arizona, Kyl would only lose in a national typhoon. But Democrats are acting confident and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is touting an "expanding Senate playing field." Pederson, the Democrat, has mounted an attack focusing on Iraq and special interests. The conservative Kyl has focused on "Arizona accomplishments" and expertise on terrorism.
In Michigan, Stabenow has led handily in polls and fundraising. Bouchard, with the slogan "Results for a Change," began running the nationally financed ads yesterday, and reaches out to younger voters tonight by appearing with Kid Rock. Democrats say it's too late, and that Stabenow has used her cash advantage to build a lead and define Bouchard.
Republicans hope for an upset in Michigan because an anti-incumbent tide could benefit the G.O.P. in a state where both U.S. Senators and the Governor are Democrats. That is one of the races that will help illuminate whether any wave this year is anti-incumbent, or just anti-Republican. The G.O.P. is also making offensive moves in New Jersey, where Tom Kean Jr. is profiting from corruption charges against incumbent Robert Menendez, and Maryland, where Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is running on change against Democrat Ben Cardin, a 10-termer in the U.S. House.
In other Senate races, two struggling Republicans are both running ads acknowledging public frustration with Iraq. In Washington State, Republican Mike McGavick, former chief executive of an insurance giant, is using the tag line "Real. Change" to challenge freshman Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), who has supported the war. A new McGavick ad uses the President's former "stay the course" mantra as a slur against Cantwell and says: "President Bush doesn't understand our frustrations." In Minnesota, three-term Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) is gaining on prosecutor Amy Klobuchar (D) with an ad that tries to level with voters. "None of us like war. And we've made some mistakes in Iraq," the ad says. "Leaving Iraq now will create a breeding ground for new attacks on America." His close is one of the year's most memorable: "I'm Mark Kennedy.... I approve this message even though I know it may not be what you want to hear."