What To Watch For As House, Senate Results Come In
4:00 p.m. AKST
Connecticut Senate: Despite her loss to Democrat Richard Blumenthal in 2010, Linda McMahon, the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., was not deterred from another Senate bid - this time to replace outgoing Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. This year, after revamping her controversial image and adopting a more moderate tone (in a recent mailing, she encouraged voters to vote a split ticket for her and President Obama), McMahon appeared to be mounting an unexpected challenge against Democratic Rep. Christopher Murphy. Recent polls, however, show Murphy gaining steam, making a Republican pick-up in the state less likely.
Florida - U.S. House, 18th District: Republican Rep. Allen West vs. Patrick Murphy: Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West swept into Congress with the Republican landslide in 2010. Redistricting has forced him to fight for reelection in a new South Florida district, which may wind up being a fortuitous turn of events since the electorate is slightly more Republican than his current district. His $18 million fundraising haul might also play a large role should he be reelected against 29-year old Republican-turned-Democrat Patrick Murphy. The race has been ugly with one ad depicting West as a gold-toothed thug and another posting Murphy's mug shot from a college bar brawl.
Illinois - U.S. House 8th District: Republican Rep. Joe Walsh vs. Democrat Tammy Duckworth: Walsh, the Tea Party backed Freshman is facing double amputee Iraq War vet Tammy Duckworth in the newly redrawn and more Democratic district. Walsh has been one of the several Republicans under fire for his position on abortion because of his opposition to exemptions of rape and incest. He also said recently that "you can't find one instance" where abortion would save a woman's life or protect her health.
Maine Senate: In Maine, the independent former governor Angus King is running to replace outgoing Sen. Olympia Snowe - a longtime moderate Republican who announced her retirement earlier this year. The seat is seen as a pick-up for Democrats, although King has vowed that, if elected, he would take "the best ideas, regardless of party, to find common sense solutions" in the Senate. Currently, he appears to have a hefty lead in the polls over Republican Charlie Summers and Democrat Cynthia Dill.
Massachusetts Senate: Perhaps the highest-profile Senate race is taking place this year in a state where the presidential election is hardly being contested: Massachusetts, a reliably Democratic state, is a safe bet for President Obama even despite the fact that Mitt Romney once served as its governor. Between Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren and incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown, however, the outcome is far less certain: While Warren, a liberal icon and consumer advocate, appeared to have eked out an edge in recent weeks, at least one new poll shows Brown in the lead. Both candidates boast at least one inherent edge: Warren will benefit from the president's support, while Brown has the advantage of the incumbency.
Massachusetts - U.S. House, 6th District: Democratic Rep. John Tierney v. Richard Tisei: Democratic incumbent Rep. John Tierney has represented his district in the House since 1997 and is facing defeat in large part due to his wife's family illegal gambling business. Challenger Tisei is a fiscal conservative and would be the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.