In two weeks, Americans will vote in mid-term Elections. Here’s a look at where things stand ahead of the November 2nd vote.
Candidates are busy trying to sway undecided voters and push their base to get out and vote in the last two weeks. Early voting has begun in the majority of states, and there are multiple indicators that this will be the second mid-term election in a row where one or more Chambers of Congress switched parties, proving just how volatile the electorate is.
A number of debates between the candidates have take place in the last week. None of them were game changers though. The much anticipated face-off between Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who is the Senate Majority Leader, and his Republican rival Sharron Angle, backed by the Tea Party was inconclusive.
The debate for the open Senate seat in Kentucky was particularly vicious. Democratic Candidate Jack Conway went after Republican Candidate Rand Paul over his involvement in a secret university group when was in school that called the Bible a hoax. Paul was visibly angry, and told Conway that he “embarrassed this race.” At the end he walked off refusing to shake Conway’s hand.
But Democrats still face an enthusiasm gap. Republicans are much more energized in this election than Democrats. A new Gallup poll out this week shows in a generic ballot, Republicans lead Democrats 53-42%.
First Lady Michelle Obama also joined the campaign this past week with a number of fundraisers and speeches in support of embattled Democrats. She and her husband appeared before a rally of 35,000 people on Sunday in the battleground state of Ohio.
Republicans have to pickup 10 seats in the Senate to regain the Majority, but still seem unlikely to achieve that. Democrats have made some ground in battleground states like Pennsylvania and Colorado, but both races are too close to call. It seems more likely that Republicans will pick up 5-7 seats. But there are half a dozen seats that polls show are extremely tight. If the vote is as close as polls indicate, some of those races may go into a recount.
A possible Democratic pickup is the open seat in Kentucky. Republican Rand Paul is still ahead in this very Red state. But the Democrat is within striking distance.
More Democratic seats are in jeopardy this week than last week. Republicans and their special interest groups are pouring money into targeted districts trying to unseat those who didn’t look vulnerable a few weeks ago. And voter disgust with incumbents continues. The outcome of the races may come down to momentum and timing.
One of those recently in trouble is Arizona Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva. He called for a boycott of his state after the enactment of a controversial anti-illegal measure earlier this year. Republican Ruth McClung is gaining on him in the polls against this 4-term progressive Democrat. McClung has received the endorsement of Former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. And she’s hammering Grijalva hard for the boycott, which took jobs and income away from the cash strapped state.
Many Democrats at risk are ones who were first elected in the anti-Republican tides of 2006 and 2008. There are a lot of rematches from past years, potential do-overs for Republican losers.
THE GOVERNOR’S RACE:
Democrats stand to lose around six Governors mansions. But they are making up ground in some races, like Texas, South Carolina, and Florida (although that doesn’t mean those states move out of the toss-up column).
In South Carolina, Republican Nikki Haley is still ahead in the polls, but Democrat Vincent Sheheen is gaining on her. South Carolina is one of the most conservative states in the country. But Haley’s credentials and the current governor’s embarrassing sex scandal may be wearing on tired voters.
*There will be another update on the state of the races next Tuesday.