8 Races that I’ll be watching on Tuesday night

On Tuesday, all of the attention will be at the top of the ballot as we watch the election returns come in. But there are dozens of races nationwide that bear watching for the astute political observer. Here are the races I’ll be monitoring Tuesday night.

Minnesota 6th U.S. Congressional District

Michele Bachmann (R) v. Elwyn Tinklenberg (D)

Minnesota Public Radio Poll: Tinklenberg +2


Bachmann is the incumbent and must have taken Sarah Palin’s talking points to a new level a couple of weeks ago with Chris Matthews.

MR. MATTHEWS: If you have liberal views, does that mean you have anti-American views? What’s the connection? I don’t get the connection. What’s the connection between liberal and leftist and anti-American?

REP. BACHMANN: Anti-American is the point, because —

MR. MATTHEWS: I mean, if you’re liberal, are you anti-American?

REP. BACHMANN: Well, the liberals that are Jeremiah Wright and that are Bill Ayers, they’re over-the-top anti-American. And that’s the question that Americans have. Remember, it was Michelle Obama who said she’s only recently proud of her country. And so these are very anti-American views.


REP. BACHMANN: That’s not the way that most Americans feel about our country. Most Americans, Chris, are wild about America, and they’re very concerned to have a president who doesn’t share those values.

She went on to say “I’m very concerned that (Obama) may have anti-American views,” and “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America.” These comments have not played well and the Republicans actually stopped spending money on Bachmann’s re-election bid.

North Carolina Senate

Elizabeth Dole (R) v. Kay Hagen (D)

Real Clear Politics (RCP) avg. Hagen + 5.5

Liddy Dole has aged on us. She’s older than John McCain. The race was pretty tight as Barack Obama has energized African Americans in the state. But then she tried to tie her opponent to “Godless Campaign Fundraiser.” Hagen, who is a former Sunday School Teacher, has sued Dole for defamation. It seems to be going downhill for Liddy. We’ll see Tuesday night.

Geogria Senate

Saxby Chambliss (R) v. Jim Martin (D)

RCP avg. Chambliss +2.7

Many Democrats remember the nasty campaign incumbent Chambliss ran against former Senator and disabled US Army veteran Max Cleland. Georgia has also had a huge increase in African-American voter registration. While the state may not go blue in the presidential race, Chambliss has sweat more in this race then he anticipated. I’d like to see him go down.

Minnesota U.S. Senate

Norm Coleman (R) v. Al Franken (D)

RCP avg. Coleman +2.2

Incumbent Coleman is locked in a battle with former SNL actor/writer Al Franken. Minnesota elected a Democrat ’06 and the party has targeted this seat for a while. Franken has spent time and money over the last few years preparing for this run.

Dean Barkley is running as an incumbent and has been polling between 12-15 points in the state that elected Jesse Ventura governor. A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows DFLer Franken with a slim lead over Coleman among likely voters, 42 percent to 38 percent with a margin or error of 4 points. That’s the definition of a toss up.

Dallas County Sherrif

Lupe Valdez (D) v. Lowell Cannaday (R)

lupe.jpgSomething in me feels like incumbent Lupe Valdez is locked in a tight race. Recently the Dallas Morning News ran a story claiming that John Wiley Price has done more to fix Dallas County than the sheriff has. Deputies have bristled Valdez’ assertion that she has increased morale and pay.

The overwhelming Democratic support for Barack Obama and Dallas County’s record voting numbers should lift Valdez.

But I just feel like there may be a surprise in this one.

Virginia 2nd U.S. Congressional District

Thelma Drake (R) v. Phil Kellam (D)

Mason-Dixon Poll -Drake +2.0

Politics in Virgina is changing as evidenced by the prevailing thought that Barack Obama will carry the state on Tuesday. Incumbent Thelma Drake seemed to be a shoe in to retain her House seat but there has been a tightening in the poll recently. The Potomac Primary was a turning point during the Democratic race, maybe Virgina has a few more surprises in store.

Alaska U.S. Senate

Ted Stevens (R) v. Mark Begich (D)

RCP avg. – Begich +10.3

Another race the Democrats hope to add in their quest for a filibuster proof majority and 60 Senate seats. Forty-six year old Mark Begich takes on the incumbent and recently convicted Stevens who is 38 years his senior.

My thought was that if Stevens could have held on to his seat and McCain/Palin lost on Tuesday, then the Alaska Governor would have asked Stevens to resign and then appoint herself to his seat. Now that Palin has got a taste of the lower 48, I’m guessing she doesn’t want to head back to Putin’s doorstep for too much longer if she can help it.

It doesn’t look like Stevens will make it, so we may not have to worry about that scenario.

Texas House District 102

Tony Goolsby (R) v. Carol Kent (D)

goolsby.jpgNorth Dallas voters have sent Tony Goolsby to Austin ten times on their behalf. But changing demographics have Carol Kent and Dallas County Democrats hopeful that she can win on Tuesday.

Texas Democrats need to gain five House seats to oust Speaker Tom Craddick and the GOP from power. In 2006 Dallas County Dems (mostly judges but also the Sheriff and DA) were the only group in Texas to experience the Red to Blue trend seen nationwide. Could Goolsby see the trend seep out to the Texas House race.

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