Key Political Races: At A Glance

Posted: Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Some races to watch in the midterm elections:

SENATE

Arkansas: Republican Sen. Tim Hutchinson vs. Democrat Mark Pryor. Democrats rate this race as among their top chances to pick up a seat in their drive to retain control of the Senate. President Bush campaigned in the state last week.

New Hampshire: Republican Sen. Bob Smith risks losing his seat in a Sept. 10 primary against Rep. John Sununu. Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen awaits the GOP nominee.

Missouri: Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan vs. Republican Jim Talent. Republicans say this is a strong chance to pick up a seat. Carnahan has her name on the ballot for the first time, having taken office following her husband's death in a plane crash a few days before the 2000 election.

South Dakota: Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson vs. Republican Rep. John Thune. Bush helped recruit Thune to challenge Johnson in a race in the home state of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The two political parties have already spent more than $3 million combined in television advertising.

Texas: Republican John Cornyn, state attorney general, vs. Democrat Ron Kirk, former Dallas mayor. Kirk is hoping to replace retiring GOP Sen. Phil Gramm in Bush's home state. Republicans are launching a costly television ad blitz to create some distance in the polls.

HOUSE

Indiana: Democrat Jill Long-Thompson vs. Republican Chris Chocola. Democratic Rep. Tim Roemer is retiring, and local voting patterns make the seat a prime target for Republicans. Long-Thompson is a former lawmaker who lost her seat in the 1994 GOP landslide. Chocola ran unsuccessfully against Roemer in 2000.

Kentucky: Republican Rep. Anne Northup vs. Democrat Jack Conway. Democrats consider this one of their best opportunities to defeat a GOP incumbent, which they will need to do to win back the House. Northup, who has held her seat since 1996, is a perennial Democratic target. Conway is a former aide to Gov. Paul Patton.

Nevada: Democrat Dario Herrera vs. Republican Jon Porter. The seat was newly created by redistricting and is one of several Southern and Western districts that will be competitive this fall. Herrera, the Clark County commission chairman, is one of the Democrats' most highly promoted recruits this year but has been hurt by ethics allegations. Porter is a state senator.

Pennsylvania: Republican Rep. George Gekas vs. Democratic Rep. Tim Holden. This Harrisburg-area race is one of four campaigns pitting incumbents against one another. Both parties say it appears to be the most competitive of the four.

GOVERNORS

Alabama: Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman vs. Republican Robert Riley. Republicans are expected to lose gubernatorial seats overall, but Alabama gives them a good shot at a pickup. Republicans also hope Riley will help in the race to fill the vacancy he created by leaving Congress, one of several states where gubernatorial candidates may affect critical House contests.

California: Democratic Gov. Gray Davis vs. Republican Bill Simon. Despite evident voter dissatisfaction with the governor, polls show him leading. Simon's campaign has been hurt by months of negative headlines about a $78 million civil fraud verdict against his family's investment firm and a constant stream of attack ads launched over the summer by the Democratic incumbent.

Michigan: Democrat Jennifer Granholm (D) vs. Republican Dick Posthumus. GOP Gov. John Engler is retiring, and Michigan is one of several Midwestern states that Democrats hope to capture. Granholm is the state attorney general. Posthumus is lieutenant governor.

Minnesota: Republican Tim Pawlenty vs. Democrat Roger Moe vs. independent Tim Penny. (Primary is Sept. 10.) Independent Gov. Jesse Ventura is retiring after four colorful years in office, and Penny, a former congressman, dropped his Democratic affiliation in a bid to replace him. Moe is the veteran Democratic leader of the state Senate. Pawlenty is a GOP leader in the state house.

--The Associated Press



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