Democrats have for the last decade struggled to win in the South, but they think Heath Shuler may be the candidate to start a new tradition in this western North Carolina district. Shuler not only was a football star, both in North Carolina in high school and then at the University of Tennessee, but he's also anti-abortion and frequently talks about his hunting, which has helped him appeal to conservative and rural voters in this area. Taylor, an eight-term incumbent, says he would be much more influential for the district than Shuler, because he sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which determines where much of the federal budget is spent. And he never fails to argue that Shuler doesn't have enough experience for the job.
Winner: Heath Shuler
NEXT: Wilson (R) v. Madrid (D)