Projected New Senate: 50 Democrats 50 Republicans
News from the Votemaster
There is good news and bad news for each party today. For the Republicans, the really good news is that the guy that they bitterly hate, incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) beat the guy they love, Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey, 54% to 46%, thus keeping alive the possibility of holding his Senate seat in this heavily Democratic state. Even better, by keeping this race alive, they are going to force Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), chairman of the DSCC, to spend precious money here that he would rather have spent in Missouri or Montana,
The other important primary was in Maryland, where Rep. Ben Cardin (D) beat Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D) for the chance to oppose Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) for the open Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD). In this heavily Democratic state, Cardin is favored to win the general election.
In Delaware, law professor Jan Ting nosed out airline pilot Mike Protack for the right to lose decisively to incumbent Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) in November in what will surely be a very lopsided race.
Over on the House side, there was a real slugfest in AZ-08 for the seat Jim Kolbe is vacating. The district borders on Mexico and immigration is a very hot issue there. Although it is somewhat conservative, it has been reelecting openly gay Republican Kolbe for 20 years. The Democratic nominee is Gabrielle Giffords, who resigned from the state Senate to campaign for the House. The Republican nominee is Randy Graf, despite the Republican party spending $122,000 to help Graf's opponent, Steve Huffman, because they felt that Graf is too conservative to win in November. Leans Democratic now.
Up in Minnesota, Keith Ellison won the Democratic primary in MN-05. Given the huge Democratic majority in this district around Minneapolis, Ellison will become the first Moslem in Congress as well as the first African-American congressman from Minnesota. The race centered less on race and religion than on Ellison's progressive views, such as his desire for universal health care.
In MD-04, antiwar challenger Donna Edwards was in a neck-and-neck race with incumbent Albert Wynn. With 75% of the precincts reporting, Edwards led 48.1% to 47.7%. It could yet go either way.
In Brooklyn, African-American city councilwoman Yvette Clarke won the Democratic nomination in NY-11 and will surely win the general election. She beat back a challenge from a white city councilman, David Yassky, in a district that has been represented by an African American since Shirley Chisholm's victory there in 1968. The race had raised racial tensions in the city.
I will update this page later in the day when more House races are final.
On the polling side, the Democrats have good news. Rep. Harold Ford now leads former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN). All of a sudden, this race may be competitive, like Virginia's. Chuck, can you spare a dime? Or maybe a million. Nobody had really counted on Tennessee being a battleground, but maybe it will be. Stay tuned.
As a consequence of Tennessee flipping, we now have a 50-50 projected Senate. No more duck hunting for Dick Cheney. He's going to be needed in the Senate to break ties all the time--if nothing changes. But with New Jersey Republican and Tennessee and Virginia Democratic, a lot could change.
Over in Connecticut, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) has widened his lead over Democratic challenger Ned Lamont, in another of New England's strange races. Up in Maine, incumbent Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is so far ahead that nobody even bothers to poll very often. New England is different from the South.
See the details of the Senate and House races with photos, maps, links, polls, etc.
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-- The Votemaster