Taking a moment to step back from the Presidential race, here are some very close races to watch tomorrow:
The Democrats are almost guaranteed to pick up NM, VA, CO, AK and NH. Thus, there are 5 Senate races to watch. Right now they look to go 2-2 with MN as a real toss-up. In order of most likely D pickup, here they are:
State (RCP Ave D lead) (Intrade % of D win)
OR (+5.3) (90%)NC (+3.3) (85%)
MN (-2.8) (54%)
GA (-2.7) (30%)KY (-5.7) (20%)
The Ds must win OR, NC, MN and either GA or KY to get the 60 seat filibuster-proof majority.
What to watch for: NC and GA are the first states to see results coming in. If Sen. Dole (R) holds on in NC, the Ds number in the Senate will end up being closer to 55-57 rather than 58-60. If Sen. Chambliss (R) gets upset in GA, the 60 seat majority is possible.
Read on for the rest . . . **GOVERNOR
There are very few close Governor races to watch. Early this year it seemed that WA, MO, IN and NC would have close races. But MO seems set to flip to the Democrat Nixon and the IN incumbent Mitch Daniels (R) is up big. So there are two Governor races to watch:
NC (open seat):
The Democrat incumbent leaves with relative popularity and his Lieutenant Governor Bev Purdue (D) is running on that record and trying to tie the Republican to President Bush. The Republican candidate, Pat McCrory, is one of few big city Republican mayors. He has been mayor of Charlotte for about a decade during an era of rapid growth. Mayor McCrory was the strongest GOP candidate in a crowded primary, and he has kept poling tied throughout the race. After 16 years of Democrat Governors, NC might be ready to put a Republican in charge.
RCP Ave – Purdue (D) +0.7
WA (D incumbent):
WA is home to a rematch in 2008. After Mr. Rossi (R) won the first two counts in 2004, a rather fishy third recount gave the race to now-Gov. Gregoire (D). Mr. Rossi conceded gracefully and decided to run again this year. Mr. Rossi is exactly the type of Republican who fits WA well. He is this generation’s Slade Gordon. And if he wins the Gubernatorial seat, he will be a rising Western star of the GOP.
RCP Ave – Gregoire (D) +2.0
With the loss of MO, Republicans need to win both to have a net gain in Governor seats. If the GOP takes one seat (more likely NC), the gubernatorial balance will be unchanged.
NC seems to be the front line of the election this year (maybe I’m biased by living here right now). NC hosts the best chance for a GOP GOV pickup. NC has a tipping point SEN race. And NC is polling as the closest state in the Presidential race. None of these three races has more than a 60% chance of going either way. Since NC polls close early since it’s on the east coast, the results from NC will give a decent indication of how much the GOV and SEN balance will be shifting this year.