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The Hot House Races


The House of Representatives is very much in play in 2006, with many Republican seats in danger. Here is our list of the top 50 House races to watch. Different political analysts may come to slightly different lists of the most competitive races, but probably 30-40 of ours will be on everyone's list and the rest on many lists.

Click on a picture for the candidate's home page.
Click on a name for the candidate's entry in the Wikipedia.
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Click on a district name for a map of it.

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The site also has a list of all 435 House races as well as House polling data in .csv format for downloading.

AZ   CA   CO   CT   FL   GA   IL   IN   IA   KY   LA   MN   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   OH   PA   TX   VA   WA   WI  


Arizona AZ-01

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Rick_Renzi
Rick
Renzi
(R)
Ellen Simon
Ellen
Simon
(D)
Rick Renzi and his wife Roberta Renzi love both kids and the letter "R"--they have 12 of them, all of whose first names start with "R." Rick is a conservative two-term congressman from a district covering most of northeastern and central Arizona. Ellen Simon is a liberal lawyer who formerly worked for the ACLU. One might think Renzi would be a shoo-in, but corruption issues have dogged him--he has been named one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress by CREW, a watchdog group. In a year where ethics are a big deal, Simon has been pounding him on this. An early October poll put her 4% ahead. Tossup.

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Arizona AZ-05

Incumbent Challenger Notes
J.D. Hayworth
J.D.
Hayworth
(R)
Harry Mitchell
Harry
Mitchell
(D)
Incumbent J.D. Hayworth has a reputation for being a real right-wing firebrand, which endears him to some of his constituents but not all. He also took some money from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He said it was only $2250, but a poll earlier this year showed that 62% of his constituents thought he was lying. He has never had a tough opponent before, but state senator Harry Mitchell is a serious contender. Given the district's slight Republican majority, Hayworth is probably ahead, but it could easily change. Probably Republican.

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Arizona AZ-08

Challenger Challenger Notes

Randy
Graf
(R)
Gabrielle Giffords
Gabrielle
Giffords
(D)
After bruising and expensive primaries in both parties for this open seat, Giffords and Graf will face off on Nov. 7. They couldn't be more different. Giffords is a former Fulbright scholar who spent a year in Mexico, ran a small business in Tucson, was elected to the Arizona House and later to the Arizona Senate. She is a moderate on most issues. Graf is a former pro golfer and member of the Arizona House. His main legislative achievement there was a law requiring people to prove their citizenship in order to vote, a law some people criticized as putting up a barrier to vote for poor people. He has been a strong supporter of stopping illegal immigration. Graf may be too conservative for this district (the current Republican incumbent who is retiring pointedly refused to endorse him). Probably Democratic.

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California CA-11

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Richard Pombo
Richard
Pombo
(R)
Jerry McNerney
Jerry
McNerney
(D)
Corruption and politicians go together like peanut butter and jelly, but Rep. Richard Pombo has turned it into an art form. Pombo took more money from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff than anyone else in Congress (over $500,000), enriched his wife, blocked investigations of serious allegations of corruption and much more. In a virtually unprecedented move, Pombo's primary opponent, Pete McCloskey, who comes from three generations of California Republican activists, has endorsed Pombo's Democratic opponent, Jerry McNerney, saying that it is better for the Democrats to capture the House temporarily in order to cleanse the Republican leadership. You can imagine that the sparks are going to fly here. Tossup.

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Colorado CO-07

Challenger Challenger Notes
Rick O'Donnell
Rick
O'Donnell
(R)
Ed Perlmutter
Ed
Perlmutter
(D)
This is an open seat in a swing district. The previous occupant of the seat, Bob Beauprez (R) is running for governor. Beauprez carried the district handily in 2004, 55% to 43% in 2004, but Kerry also beat Bush here in the same election. Ed Perlmutter is a state senator. Rick O'Donnell is the former head of the Colorado Dept. of Higher Education. Open seats in swing districts are rare, so everyone is paying attention. Tossup.

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Connecticut CT-02

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Rob Simmons
Rob
Simmons
(R)
Joe Courtney
Joe
Courtney
(D)
Republicans in the Northeast are an endangered species and Connecticut is a heavily Democratic state. CT-02 is the most Democratic district in the country held by a Republican. In addition, the effect of the Lieberman-Lamont grudge match could motivate either side to turn out in large numbers, thus affecting the downticket races. Tossup.

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Connecticut CT-04

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Christopher Shays
Christopher
Shays
(R)
Diane Farrell
Diane
Farrell
(D)
Christopher Shays represents a liberal district in a liberal state and is facing an antiwar challenger who is getting a lot of traction. Shays has visited Iraq 14 times, but it probably won't do him any good. Shays and Farrell duked it out in 2004 and Shays won by 4 percentage points in a more favorable climate. Tossup.

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Connecticut CT-05

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Nancy Johnson
Nancy
Johnson
(R)
Chris Murphy
Chris
Murphy
(D)
Another toughie for the incumbent Republican. Although 12-term incumbent Nancy Johnson has lots of cash, she also represents one of the most Democratic districts held by a Republican in the country. But the turnout in the Lieberman-Lamont race may end up dwarfing all other issues. Still, she is personally well liked in the district. Even if Shays and Simmons get carried away in a Democratic tide, she might hang on. Leans Republican.

Top   AZ   CA   CO   CT   FL   GA   IL   IN   IA   KY   LA   MN   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   OH   PA   TX   VA   WA   WI  


Florida FL-13

Challenger Challenger Notes
Vern Buchanan
Vern
Buchanan
(R)
Christine Jennings
Christine
Jennings
(D)
This was a safe Republican seat in Sarasota that Katherine Harris abandoned in her futile quest for a promotion. Not only will she lose big time for the Senate, but her departure puts the House seat in play. Buchanan is a wealthy car dealer and Jennings is a wealthy banker. Both sides had bitter and expensive primaries and the general election will be more of the same. Tossup.

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Florida FL-16

Challenger Challenger Notes
Joe Negron
Joe
Negron
(R)
Tim Mahoney
Tim
Mahoney
(D)
This seat was occupied by disgraced former congressman Mark Foley when he wasn't sending sexual e-mails to teenage congressional pages. Foley's name will remain on the ballot although he has been replaced as a candidate by state representative Joe Negron. The Democrat, Tim Mahoney, is a fundamentalist Christian businessman, which will play well in this district. Joe Negron represents the 82nd Florida House district, which covers only a small part of the CD, and he has to convince voters that they should mark the ballot for a pedophile even though the vote goes to him. Won't be easy. Tossup.

Top   AZ   CA   CO   CT   FL   GA   IL   IN   IA   KY   LA   MN   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   OH   PA   TX   VA   WA   WI  


Florida FL-22

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Clay Shaw
Clay
Shaw
(R)
Ron Klein
Ron
Klein
(D)
After 13 terms representing a South Florida district, Clay Shaw's luck may be running out. He recently had lung surgery and has to defend Bush's attempt to phase out Social Security in a district jam-packed with seniors and which went narrowly for Kerry in 2004. State senator Ron Klein is well known in the district and will put up a big fight. Tossup.

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Georgia GA-12

Incumbent Challenger Notes
John Barrow
John
Barrow
(D)
Max Burns
Max
Burns
(R)
This race is a rerun of 2004, when Barrow ousted 1-term incumbent Burns, who wants his job back. It may be a bit easier for him this time since the Republican-controlled state legislature has gerrymandered the district. The new district has fewer students but more African Americans, so the dynamics of the rematch will be different. Leans Democratic.

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Illinois IL-06

Challenger Challenger Notes
Peter Roskam
Peter
Roskam
(R)
Tammy Duckworth
Tammy
Duckworth
(D)
Henry Hyde has represented this suburban Chicago district since Methuselah was in short pants but at 82, he is calling it a day, leaving behind an open seat in a normally Republican district. But Democrat Maj. Tammy Duckworth has a compelling story to tell: she lost both legs when the army helicopter she was flying was shot down in Iraq. She was fitted with protheses and is waging a vigorous campaign against the war. Her opponent is state senator Peter Roskam, a personal injury lawyer. If Iraq dominates the election, Duckworth could pull an upset here. Tossup.

Top   AZ   CA   CO   CT   FL   GA   IL   IN   IA   KY   LA   MN   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   OH   PA   TX   VA   WA   WI  


Illinois IL-08

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Melissa Bean
Melissa
Bean
(D)
David McSweeney
David
McSweeney
(R)
IL-08 is a rare district where the GOP has a chance of unseating an incumbent, in this case 1-term Democrat Melissa Bean, who won her seat in 2004 in the Illinois district that went most heavily for George Bush. In a district like that, any Democrat is endangered. But Bean is fairly conservative and her incumbency and endorsement by the chamber of commerce give her a slight edge over banker McSweeney who drained his bank account in a bitter primary, while Bean was unopposed. Leans Democratic.

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Indiana IN-02

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Chris Chocola
Chris
Chocola
(R)
Joe Donnelly
Joe
Donnelly
(D)
Chris Chocola is a wealthy businessman in a working class district. His strong support for the Bush administration and the war in Iraq have not been popular here. He knows he is in trouble because he asked for five debates (and got three). Normally, incumbents don't want any debates because it gives free publicity to their lesser known challengers. Furthermore, Chocola brought in the most popular Republican in the country--Laura Bush--to campaign for him. Chocola is a good campaigner. These two faced off in 2004 and Chocola won, but recent polls show Donnelly ahead. Leans Democratic.

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Indiana IN-08

Incumbent Challenger Notes
John Hostettler
John
Hostettler
(R)
Brad Ellsworth
Brad
Ellsworth
(D)
Although a mechanical engineer by training, Hostettler was so upset by the election of Bill Clinton that he decided to run for Congress in 1994 and was carried in on the Republican tide of that year. He is an extreme conservative who has gone on record saying that Democrats demonize Christians. He was also arrested for trying to take a loaded 9-mm pistol onto an airplane but plea-bargained his way out of jail. This and more makes him a good target for Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth. Make no mistakes--the mud will fly in this one. Leans Democratic.

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Indiana IN-09

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Mike Sodrel
Mike
Sodrel
(R)
Baron Hill
Baron
Hill
(D)
Another rematch of 2004. In that year, Sodrel ousted Hill, who is trying to get his old job back. Sodrel, who comes from a trucking background, drives his own 18-wheeler on the campaign trail. He is a staunch conservative. Hill served 8 years in the Indiana House before serving 6 years in Congress. The 2004 election was very close, with Sodrel winning by only 1500 votes, but because the district used electronic voting machines, a recount was impossible. This will be a bitter grudge match. Tossup.

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Iowa IA-01

Challenger Challenger Notes
Mike Whalen
Mike
Whalen
(R)
Bruce Braley
Bruce
Braley
(D)
Eight-term Republican Congressman Jim Nussle is running for governor, leaving this seat in a relatively liberal area open. Braley is a lawyer and Whalen owns a chain of hotels and restaurants. It could go either way and will be bitterly fought over by the big guns of both parties. Tossup.

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Iowa IA-02

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Jim Leach
Jim
Leach
(R)
Dave Loebsack
Dave
Loebsack
(D)
Jim Leach has served in the House for 30 years as a moderate Republican. He is pro choice, voted against the Iraq war resolution and against the 2003 Bush tax cuts. Nevertheless, his district is substantially Democratic and political science college professor Dave Loebsack has a good chance to pick him off. Loebsack's case is essentially "Leach is a decent human being but do you want Dennis Hastert or Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House?" Tossup.

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Iowa IA-03

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Leonard Boswell
Leonard
Boswell
(D)
Jeff Lamberti
Jeff
Lamberti
(R)
In this year, the Republicans are putting nearly all their efforts into hanging onto their own seats and hardly any into challenging incumbent Democrats. This district is one of the rare exceptions because incumbent Boswell, a former helicopter pilot in Vietnam, underwent a 12-hour surgery to remove a benign abdominal tumor earlier this year and then underwent chemotherapy. State senator Jeff Lamberti is hoping that Boswell will be too tired to run much of a campaign, but Boswell has plenty of money and is well known. Probably Democratic.

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Kentucky KY-03

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Anne Northup
Anne
Northup
(R)
John Yarmuth
John
Yarmuth
(D)
While Anne Northup won easily in 2004 (despite Kerry taking her district), things may be more difficult this time. In addition to having to defend an unpopular president in a Democratic-leaning district, she now also has to defend a Republican governor, Ernie Fletcher, who has just been indicted on an ethics charge, the first sitting governor to be indicted in modern times. While under normal conditions incumbents have a big advantage, in a strong Democratic tide, she is the kind of Republican who will have to fight for her political life against newspaper publisher turned political candidate, John Yarmuth. Leans Republican.

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Kentucky KY-04

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Geoff Davis
Geoff
Davis
(R)
Ken Lucas
Ken
Lucas
(D)
In 2004, the then-70-year-old Lucas retired from Congress after serving in this district for three terms and was succeeded by Davis, a staunch conservative. Normally, in a heavily Republican district, Davis should have been able to win this one easily, but he has been tarred by his close associations with Tom DeLay and Duke Cunningham. DCCC chairman, Rahm Emanuel talked Lucas into unretiring and going for another hurrah. With a well-known and credible challenger, Davis will have to fight hard for his job. Tossup.

Top   AZ   CA   CO   CT   FL   GA   IL   IN   IA   KY   LA   MN   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   OH   PA   TX   VA   WA   WI  


Louisiana LA-03

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Charlie Melancon
Charlie
Melancon
(D)
Craig Romero
Craig
Romero
(R)
This district was hit very hard by hurricane Katrina last year. Nobody knows what is going to happen, who will show up to vote, and who they will be angriest with. Rep.Charlie Melancon worked hard to get aid after Katrina hit and may get some credit with the voters for that. Craig Romero formerly served as president of Iberia Parish, which in other states would be called a county executive. Probably people in this stricken district have other priorities than following the election closely, which hurts the unknown challenger. Leans Democratic.

Top   AZ   CA   CO   CT   FL   GA   IL   IN   IA   KY   LA   MN   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   OH   PA   TX   VA   WA   WI  


Minnesota MN-01

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Gil_Gutknecht
Gil
Gutknecht
(R)
Tim Walz
Tim
Walz
(D)
Gil Gutknecht was swept into Congress during the 1994 Republican wave, strongly supporting Newt Gingerich's contract with America, one of whose provisions was that no member of Congress should serve more than 12 years. Guess what? He has served 12 years and wants more. His opponent, Tim Walz, a high school geography teacher and war veteran is not letting anyone forget this. The pair have debated four times. Recent polls show the race to be a virtual tie. Tossup.

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Minnesota MN-06

Challenger Challenger Notes
Michelle Bachmann
Michelle
Bachmann
(R)
Patty Wetterling
Patty
Wetterling
(D)
This race is the catfight of the (still young) century. In the right corner we have Michelle Bachmann, who opposes all recognition for gay relationships, supports creationism being taught in the public schools, opposes the minimum wage, and does not want to rule out a nuclear attack on Iran. In the left corner, we have Patty Wetterling, who has been an advocate for stopping child abuse and abduction after her (still missing) son was abducted in 1989. She opposes the war in Iraq and wants to bring the troops home now. This seat is the one Rep. Mark Kennedy is leaving behind as he is trying to get a promotion to the Senate. The district tends to vote Republican, but Wetterling is better known in it from the 2004 House race here that she narrowly lost to Kennedy. Tossup.

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New Hampshire NH-02

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Charlie Bass
Charlie
Bass
(R)
Paul Hodes
Paul
Hodes
(D)
New Hampshire is a quirky state and the locals are proud of it. Charlie Bass was swept into Congress on the 1994 Republican tide but could just as easily be swept out on a 2006 Democratic tide. In 2004, these candidates faced off for Congress the first time, and Bass won, but at the same time Kerry carried the district over Bush. Unlike last time, Hodes has raised as much money at the six-term incumbent this time around and recent polls show it to be close. Probably Republican.

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New Jersey NJ-07

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Mike Ferguson
Mike
Ferguson
(R)
Linda Stender
Linda
Stender
(D)
Mike Ferguson won reelection comfortably in 2004, but he has a real battle on his hands this time. He is a reliable supporter of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq, which is playing increasingly poorly in New Jersey. He also took more money from disgraced House majority leader Tom DeLay ($57,000) than any other member of the House as well as a lot of money from drug companies and oil companies, all of which have become campaign issues. Democrat Linda Stender has been elected to local public offices most of her career and is currently in the state Assembly. Polls show this race to be a statistical tie, with Ferguson just slightly ahead. Tossup.

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New Mexico NM-01

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Heather Wilson
Heather
Wilson
(R)
Patricia Madrid
Patricia
Madrid
(D)
That Heather Wilson, a conservative Republican, got elected in the first place in this heavily Hispanic district that went for Kerry by a large margin is a bit surprising, but now she has the fight of her life against New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid. Wilson's tie to disgraced former House majority leader Tom DeLay is a major issue. While incumbents always have an advantage, with a strong Democratic tide, Madrid could win this one. If the tide is weak, Wilson, who is hardly mentioning that she is a Republican, might just hang on barely. Tossup.

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New York NY-03

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Pete King
Pete
King
(R)
Dave Mejias
Dave
Mejias
(D)
Pete King is a conservative Republican in a Democratic district in a very blue state. Dave Mejias is a Cuban-American lawyer who represents pretty much the same area as the CD in the Nassau County legislature, so both are well known in the district. Mejias is attacking King for being George Bush's rubber stamp. Given how unpopular Bush is in the state and district, the tactic might work. NY-03 is typical of the districts the Democrats need to win--those with a congressman who is far more conservative than the district he represents. Polls show it is very close. Tossup.

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New York NY-20

Incumbent Challenger Notes
John Sweeney
John
Sweeney
(R)
Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten
Gillibrand
(D)
This district is normally Republican, but Kirsten Gillibrand is attacking Rep. Sweeney for his support of the war and for taking free skiing vacations from lobbyists. If the war or corruption are the dominant issue, she could win. Furthermore, with Eliot Spitzer and Hillary Clinton expected to win in landslides, downticket candidates like Gillibrand will try to hang onto their coattails. Nevertheless, she is a political neophyte running against an experienced three-term incumbent. Leans Republican.

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New York NY-24

Challenger Challenger Notes
Ray Meier
Ray
Meier
(R)
Mike Arcuri
Mike
Arcuri
(D)
This seat is being vacated by long-time liberal Republican (yes, Virginia, there were once liberal Republicans) Sherwood Boehlert. The district is upstate, around Utica, and went narrowly for Bush in 2004. The Democrat, Mike Arcuri, is a four-term Oneida County district attorney. The Republican, Ray Meier, is a state senator. A complicating factor in this race is that the Democrats have two immensely popular figures at the top of the ticket, Eliot Spitzer running for Governor and Hillary Clinton running for President--oops, senator. They are both expected to win historic landslides, which could help downticket Democrats like Arcuri. Probably Democratic

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New York NY-26

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Thomas_M._Reynolds
Tom
Reynolds
(R)
Jack Davis
Jack
Davis
(D)
Reynolds has been in Congress since 1998 and would probably have glided to an easy victory in 2006 had he not been ensnared in the Foley sex scandal. He is chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, and was informed about Foley's sexually explicit e-mails in early 2006 by the page's congressman, presumably with the intention that Reynolds have a discrete man-to-man chat with Foley about the latter's future employment plans. Instead, Reynolds passed the hot potato to Speaker Dennis Hastert, who did nothing and later claimed he first heard about the scandal in September. This means that either Reynolds or Hastert is lying. The voters in NY-26 don't seem to be warming to a congressman who protects pedophiles and suddenly, millionaire industrialist Jack Davis leads Reynolds by more than 15% in the polls. Leans Democratic.

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North Carolina NC-08

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Robin Hayes
Robin
Hayes
(R)
Larry Kissell
Larry
Kissell
(D)
NC-08 is an old-fashioned Bible belt district where textile mills once hummed, including Cannon Mills, founded by incumbent Robin Hayes' grandfather. Hayes said he would never vote for CAFTA, which could spell the death knell for the few remaining mills, and indeed he initially voted against it. But pressure from the Republican leadership caused him to switch sides at the last minute and vote for it, breaking a tie and allowing it to pass the House 217 to 215. His constituents were not pleased and Kissell keeps reminding them of it. On the other hand, Hayes inherited millions from grandpa and is not shy about spending it. Kissell is an unknown high school teacher, but in the current local and national climate, any Democrat has a good chance in NC-08. Tossup.

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North Carolina NC-11

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Charles Taylor
Charles
Taylor
(R)
Heath Shuler
Heath
Shuler
(D)
Under normal conditions, Charles Taylor's run for reelection would not attract much attention, but for two reasons it has become a tossup this year. First, Taylor is a strong opponent of CAFTA, which he says would cause his largely blue collar district to bleed jobs, but he failed to vote on the CAFTA bill, which passed the House 217-215, something he has not been forgiven. Second, his opponent, North Carolina native Heath Shuler, is a former NFL quarterback, which gives him instant name recognition all over the district. Shuler has used his fame to raise large amounts of money as well. If the Democratic tide is strong this November, newbies like Shuler will be swept along to victory. Leans Democratic.

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Ohio OH-01

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Steve Chabot
Steve
Chabot
(R)
John Cranley
John
Cranley
(D)
Steve Chabot was one of the Republicans swept in during the 1994 Republican tidal wave. He is a pro-life Catholic who has never faced a serious challenge so far, but John Cranley is also a pro-life Catholic, so they cancel on that issue. OH-01 is a swing district and has elected both Democrats and Republicans in the past. The Ohio Republican party is tarred by scandals, which bothers the many independents in this district. Tossup.

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Ohio OH-02

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Jean Schmidt
Jean
Schmidt
(R)
Victoria Wulsin
Victoria
Wulsin
(D)
Jean Schmidt zoomed to national attention earlier this year when she defeated antiwar activist Paul Hackett by just 4% in this heavily Republican district, the worst showing of any Republican in the district in 30 years. (The Republican House candidate won 72% to 28% in 2004.) When she was seated in Congress, the first thing she did was call Rep. John Murtha, who served for 38 years in the Marine Corps, a coward. Schmidt herself never served in the armed forces. Her remark caused an uproar in the House and Democrats demanded that it be stricken from the record. A lot of people in Ohio think her remark to Murtha was highly disrespectful and showed very bad judgement. Schmidt's opponent, Victoria Wulsin, is an M.D. who has worked in Africa treating AIDS patients, but this race is about Schmidt. Tossup.

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Ohio OH-06

Challenger Challenger Notes
Charlie Wilson
Charlie
Wilson
(D)
Chuck Blasdel
Chuck
Blasdel
(R)
With both candidates named "Charles" we could have had a lot of confusion here, but fortunately the Democrat is running as "Charlie" and the Republican as "Chuck" so all should be clear. This Democratic-held seat is being vacated by Ted Strickland, who is running for governor against Ken Blackwell and probably will win in a landslide given the sub-20% approval rating of the current Republican governor and Blackwell's role in the contested 2004 presidential election in Ohio. The two Charles' are well matched, Charlie being a state senator and Chuck being speaker of the state House, and this one is expected to go right down to the wire. Probably Democratic.

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Ohio OH-15

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Deborah Pryce
Deborah
Pryce
(R)
Mary Jo Kilroy
Mary Jo
Kilroy
(D)
Deborah Pryce is #4 in the Republican House leadership and has been elected from this district seven times. Normally, this would make her a shoo-in, but with corruption in Washington and corruption in Ohio are big issues, plus a likely Democratic landslide for the governor's race, Pryce has a big fight on her hands against Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy. Recent polls show Kilroy leading by over 10%, but Pryce is a fighter. Tossup.

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Ohio OH-18

Challenger Challenger Notes
Joy Padgett
Joy
Padgett
(R)
Zack Space
Zack
Space
(D)
On Aug. 7, 2006, Bob Ney withdrew from the race for OH-18 due to the influence-peddling scandals surrounding him. He announced his support for Joy Padgett as the Republican candidate, who was then duly nominated. Her calls for fiscal responsibility, which is popular in Ohio, will no doubt be contrasted with her own filing for personal bankruptcy June 15, 2006, in which she and her husband had $1.1 million in debts, including a loan from the Small Business Administration. Tossup.

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Pennsylvania PA-06

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Jim Gerlach
Jim
Gerlach
(R)
Lois Murphy
Lois
Murphy
(D)
Incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach beat lawyer Lois Murphy in 2004 by only 6000 votes, but the sands have shifted and the wind is with the Democrats this year. Gerlach understands that and is running furiously--away from George Bush. The candidates have raised roughly equal amounts of money. This will be the most exciting race in Pennsylvania this year. Leans Democratic.

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Pennsylvania PA-07

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Curt Weldon
Curt
Weldon
(R)
Joe Sestak
Joe
Sestak
(D)
A ten-term incumbent like Curt Weldon should have been able to win reelection easily, were it not for his attack on Joe Sestak, a three-star admiral, for having Sestak's 5-year-old daughter's brain tumor treated in Washington instead of in the district. That really struck many people as disrespectful, especially to a three-star admiral. Sestak is also raising more money than Weldon. Still, 10-term Congressmen do not go gentle into that good night. Leans Democratic.

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Pennsylvania PA-08

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Mike Fitzpatrick
Mike
Fitzpatrick
(R)
Patrick Murphy
Patrick
Murphy
(D)
The fighting Irish are doing battle in the Philadelphia suburbs. They disagree on everything, abortion, taxes, and Iraq, for example. Murphy is an Iraq war veteran and the war will figure prominently in the race. Like many suburban districts, it tends to vote Republican under normal conditions. Leans Republican.

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Pennsylvania PA-10

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Don Sherwood
Don
Sherwood
(R)
Chris Carney
Chris
Carney
(D)
This district is conservative and reliably Republican. Also, Don Sherwood is extremely wealthy and has no problem spending lots of his own money on the race. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn't it? It would have been had he not started choking his mistress of five years, Cynthia Ore, so she locked herself in his bathroom and called 911. When she got out, she sued him for $5 million. He settled out of court in 2005. Conservatives don't like that kind of stuff. You're supposed to have your affairs be more discreet. Still, given the nature of the district, Tossup.

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Texas TX-17

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Chet Edwards
Chet
Edwards
(D)
Van Taylor
Van
Taylor
(R)
Chet Edwards is a bit of a anomaly: a Democrat in a very Republican district in Texas, which just happens to contain President Bush's ranch. Van Taylor is one of the few Iraq vets running as a Republican. Still, Edwards has been elected to the House eight times and is a very able campaigner. It is a safe bet that the President will vote to fire his own Congressman, but chances are a majority of the other people in the district will vote to keep him. Probably Democratic.

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Texas TX-22

Write-in Challenger Notes
Shelley Sekula-Gibbs
Shelley
Sekula-Gibbs
(R)
Nick Lampson
Nick
Lampson
(D)
This is Tom DeLay's district. The ethically challenged Congressman got on the ballot before his association with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff got him indicted. Quick like a bunny he moved to Virginia claiming he was no longer a Texan so his name could be stricken from the ballot and some other Republican could take his place. The Texas courts didn't buy the instant Virginian idea and so his name is on the ballot but he is not running. Texas Republicans are now running a write-in campaign for Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a wealthy Houston dermatologist. Writing in her name would be hard enough if the voters could actually write on the ballot, but due to the voting equipment, they have to spell it out character by character (with no hyphen available) using a trackball. Nick Lampson is a former Texas Congressman and can easily claim he could do the job since he has already done it. Leans Democratic

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Texas TX-23

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Henry Bonilla
Henry
Bonilla
(R)
Ciro Rodriguez
Ciro
Rodriguez
(D)
This is one of the districts that was gerrymandered as a result of Tom DeLay's machinations. As a result of a court decision, the election on Nov. 7th is a primary, with Henry Bonilla running unopposed and six Democrats vying for their party's nomination. Ciro Rodriguez is the best known of the Democrats. If no candidate gets more than 50%, there will be a runoff a few weeks later. If the House splits 217-217 and Bonilla is below 50%, every politician in the United States will move to southwest Texas for a month. Leans Republican.

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Virginia VA-02

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Thelma Drake
Thelma
Drake
(R)
Phil Kellam
Phil
Kellam
(D)
If George Allen were coasting to an easy victory, he would pull freshman Rep. Thelma Drake in on his coattails. However, the "macaca" incident has hurt Allen badly in the polls so Drake may have to make it on her own. Her opponent, Virginia Beach commissioner of revenue Phil Kellam, is well known in the district. The two differ strongly on whether the war is going well, and with thousands of military families in the district, their votes could decide the election. Tossup.

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Washington WA-08

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Dave Reichert
Dave
Reichert
(R)
Darcy Burner
Darcy
Burner
(D)
Being a Microsoft manager carries a certain amount of weight in this suburban Seattle district, and Darcy Burner is using it for all it is worth against freshman Rep. Dave Reichert. She is also raising money hand over foot. Furthermore, the party registration slightly favors the Democrats. Tossup.

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West-Virgina WV-01

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Alan Mollohan
Alan
Mollohan
(D)
Chris Wakim
Chris
Wakim
(R)
Rep. Alan Mollohan is the ranking member of the House Ethics committee, but that didn't stop him from having ethical problems of his own. In particular, he is accused of bringing home the bacon, which normally helps a Congressman, only in this case, it raised the value of his family's real estate a bit too crudely. Still, Mollohan and his Congressman father before him have ruled this district for 40 years, and it is hard to see how a litte graft is going to end that. But if corruption becomes the dominant issue, he could be in for a fight. Probably Democratic.

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Wisconsin WI-08

Challenger Challenger Notes
John Gard
John
Gard
(R)
Steve Kagan
Steve
Kagan
(D)
WI-08 is an open seat around Green Bay being vacated by Mark Green (R), who is running for governor. The district is moderately Republican and is being given the choice between the hard-right conservative speaker of the state Assembly and a liberal medical doctor. The mud is really flying here with some extremely negative ads on TV. Polls have shown the race to be very close. Tossup.

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