absentee ballot for overseas voter

Battleground States


All states are equal but some states are more equal. At least in the Senate, where each state has two senators. However, not all senatorial races are equal. In fact, some are going to be downright boring. The Democrats didn't even bother fielding a candidate against Dick Lugar (R-IN) and the Republicans didn't bother fielding a candidate against Herb Kohl (D-WI).

But other races promise to be very exciting, and control of the new Senate will depend upon who wins them. Below we have categorized the races into three groups:

The Tossups are very close; the other two categories lean one way or the other. However, the 6th year of an administration is normally deadly for the party occupying the White House, a pattern that has persisted since popular election of senators began in 1914--with only one exception--The Democrats escaped the 6th-year jinx in 1998, probably because so many people were infuriated more by the Republicans trying to impeach Clinton than by what Clinton actually did. Historical election data on 6th-year Senate elections can be found here.

The significance of the 6th-year effect is that the Democrats are likely to win all the seats listed as Lean Democratic, and if the wind is strong enough, may win many of the seats that are currently leaning Republican. Numerous polls have shown that the country wants the Democrats to take back Congress. Every serious political analyst expects the Democrats to pick up seats in the Senate. The only question is will they win the six seats they need to take control. Historically, in the 6th year of an administration, the party in the White House has lost 6.6 seats in the Senate. Stay tuned.

The states not listed below are pretty much sure bets for the incumbent. Connecticut is not listed because it is simply a rerun of the primary with Republicans getting to vote this time. While ideologically interesting, it has no effect on control of the Senate since the two leading candidates are both Democrats. For the score, see the map.

The ages given refer to election day. The occupations listed are what the candidate did before getting into politics. The photos are linked to the candidates' Websites; their names are linked to their Wikipedia entries; their party affiliations are linked to their state parties. The flags are linked to the official state Websites.

Tossups

The big three tossups are all held by Republicans who are fighting for their political lives. They are as follows.

State Incumb. Chal. Notes
Missouri



Talent: 47%
McCaskill: 50%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Jim_Talent
Jim
Talent
(R)
Age: 50
Lawyer
Claire_McCaskill
Claire
McCaskill
(D)
Age: 53
Prosecutor
This race is going to be one of the most-watched and closest in the nation. In 2000, a dead man, Gov. Mel Carnahan, was elected to the Senate three weeks after his campaign plane crashed. The new governor appointed Carnahan's wife, Jean, to the Senate. In 2002, Jim Talent beat her in a special election to fill out the remainder of Gov. Carnahan's term. Thus although Talent is the incumbent, his victory was over a neophyte put in office by tragic circumstances and he has yet to be tested in a competitive state-wide race. His opponent, Claire McCaskill, has twice been elected state auditor in competitive races. Missouri is the perfect bellwether state and all eyes will be on this race. Result: McCaskill won.
New Jersey



Menendez: 53%
Kean: 45%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Bob Menendez
Bob
Menendez
(D)
Age: 52
Lawyer
Tom Kean
Tom
Kean, Jr.
(R)
Age: 38
Congr. aide
When Sen. Jon Corzine was elected governor of New Jersey in 2005, he got to appoint his own successor to the Senate and chose Rep. Bob Menendez, making him the second Cuban-American to serve in the Senate (the first is Florida's Sen. Mel Martinez). Thus although he is the incumbent, Menendez has never won a state-wide race. On the other hand, neither has his opponent, Tom Kean, Jr, although his father was a popular two-term governor of New Jersey. Although New Jersey is reliably Democratic in presidential races, this one will be close. Result: Menendez won.
Tennessee



Corker: 51%
Ford: 48%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Bob Corker
Bob
Corker
(R)
Age: 54
Contractor
Harold_Ford
Harold
Ford
(D)
Age: 36
Sen. staffer
When Bill Frist (R) decided not to run for reelection so he could concentrate on running for president, he left behind an open seat that will be bitterly fought over. While Tennessee usually votes Republican (Al Gore didn't even carry it in 2000, despite it being his home state), Congressman Ford is doing surprisingly well against former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker. The odds favor Corker, but if the Democratic tide is strong enough, Ford could pull an upset. Initial polls show it to be surprisingly close. Result: Corker won.

Lean Democratic

State Incumb. Chal. Notes
Maryland



Cardin: 54%
Steele: 44%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Ben_Cardin
Ben
Cardin
(D)
Age: 63
Lawyer
Michael_Steele
Michael
Steele
(R)
Age: 48
Corp. lawyer
With the retirement of Paul Sarbanes (D), Maryland has an open seat. Rep. Ben Cardin beat Mfume Kweisi in a contested primary and now faces Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. The state is heavily Democratic and Cardin is well known, so he is likely to win. Result: Cardin won.
Minnesota



Klobuchar: 58%
Kennedy: 38%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Amy Klobuchar
Amy
Klobuchar
(D)
Age: 46
Lawyer
Mark Kennedy
Mark
Kennedy
(R)
Age: 49
CPA, later CEO
With the retirement of Mark Dayton, Minnesota has an open seat. It will probably be close, with Hennepin County attorney facing off against Rep. Mark Kennedy. Result: Klobuchar won.
Montana



Burns: 48%
Tester: 49%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Conrad Burns
Conrad
Burns
(R)
Age: 71
Radio station owner
Jon Tester
Jon
Tester
(D)
Age: 50
Farmer
Although Bush clobbered Kerry here in 2004, the state is not as Republican as some people think. The popular governor, Brian Schweitzer, is a Democrat and the Democrats control both houses of the state legislature. The other senator is also a Democrat. Combine this with Burns close association with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Burns has the fight of his life here against State Senate President, Jon Tester. Tester has been ahead in the polls all year. Result: Tester won.
Ohio



DeWine: 44%
Brown: 56%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Mike DeWine
Mike
DeWine
(R)
Age: 59
Prosecutor
Sherrod_Brown
Sherrod
Brown
(D)
Age: 54
Professor
The Ohio Republican party is in the middle of a corruption scandal, with the approval ratings of Gov. Taft below 20%--something rarely seen in any poll. Between the scandals in Ohio and the many problems in Washington, DeWine is getting hit by both barrels. To make it worse, the Democrats have a strong and experienced candidate in Rep. Sherrod Brown, who has been elected to Congress seven times and was Ohio Secretary of State in the 1980s. Combined with a strong Democratic trend, DeWine is probably finished. Result: Brown won.
Pennsylvania



Santorum: 41%
Casey: 59%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Rick Santorum
Rick
Santorum
(R)
Age: 48
Lawyer
Bob Casey
Bob
Casey
(D)
Age: 46
Lawyer
Rick Santorum is about tied with Lincoln Chafee for the title of "Republican incumbent most likely to lose." Santorum is a member of the Republican leadership and is far more conservative than the state he represents. He has the bad luck to be facing state treasurer Bob Casey who can hardly be tagged as a 'liberal' (Casey is pro-life but otherwise a moderate). Casey is the son of a former popular Pennsylvania governor, Robert Casey. Polls show Casey ahead all year. Santorum is probably finished. Result: Casey won.
Rhode Island



Chafee: 47%
Whitehouse: 53%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Lincoln Chafee
Lincoln
Chafee
(R)
Age: 53
Blacksmith
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon
Whitehouse
(D)
Age: 51
Prosecutor
This race has the Republicans gnashing their teeth. They have to support Chafee in order to help hold the seat in this most Democratic of states, but they don't like him and he often votes with the Democrats. Most likely the only reason he hasn't switched parties is out of allegiance to his late father, John Chafee, who held the seat before him. To win the primary from Cranston mayor Steve Laffey, Chafee had to jog to the right, but to win the general election, he has to jog to the left. It won't be easy. Result: Whitehouse won.

Lean Republican

State Incumb. Chal. Notes
Arizona



Kyl: 53%
Pederson: 44%
Election 2006
Nov 08
Jon Kyl
Jon
Kyl
(R)
Age: 64
Lobbyist
Jim Pederson
Jim
Pederson
(D)
Age: 64
Real estate developer
Likely to be one of the most expensive Senate races. Pederson has a lot of money and he intends to spend it. But although Kyl is far less visible than his colleague John McCain, he has done little to give the voters cause for sending him home. Even with popular Democratic governor Janet Napolitano on top of the ticket, Kyl is likely to win unless the Democratic surge is very large. Result: Kyl won.
Nevada



Ensign: 55%
Carter: 41%
Election 2006
Nov 08
John Ensign
John
Ensign
(R)
Age: 48
Veteranarian
Jack Carter
Jack
Carter
(D)
Age: 59
Lawyer
If your dad was president, politics surely gets into your blood, so son Jack Carter is running for the Senate. Although he has degrees in science and law, Carter works in the financial industry. His opponent, one-term senator John Ensign, was formerly a veterinarian. Ensign was expected to be reelected easily, but recent polls have shown Carter catching up. This is one of those races where a strong Democratic tide could carry in challengers against an incumbent. Result: Ensign won.
Virginia



Allen: 49%
Webb: 50%
Election 2006
Nov 08
George Allen
George
Allen
(R)
Age: 54
Lawyer
Jim Webb
Jim
Webb
(D)
Age: 60
Lawyer
Incumbent Sen. George Allen (R-VA) had been expected to win this in a cake walk, but on Aug. 11, he was at a rally being videotaped by a young Indian-American volunteer working for his opponent, former Reagan Navy Secretary Jim Webb. He pointed at the young man and called him a "macaca" and welcomed him America, something quite unnecessary since he was born in Virginia. This remark, obviously videotaped by the young volunteer caused a media storm and Allen dropped over 20 points in the polls. Now instead of thinking about his 2008 race for the White House, he has to worry about being reelected senator. Result: Webb won.

Back to the main page.
absentee ballot for overseas voter