GOP Clawing Back in Key Senate Races
A surge of negative advertising has put the Republicans back in the lead in the Virginia and Tennessee Senate races and with a fighting chance in several other key contests.
In Virginia, incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen stopped losing ground after he was accused of racial insensitivity and went on the attack against his Democratic opponent, James Webb, in part charging that Webb was insensitive to women in the military.
In Tennessee, Republican candidate Bob Corker fired top campaign staff and went on the attack against his Democratic rival, Rep. Harold Ford.
While many analysts and insiders of both major parties expect the Republicans to lose control of the House of Representatives, the Senate remains a close contest. Control of either house of Congress is crucial to passing legislation, while the Senate has sole power to confirm appointments to the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court.
The polls revealed a slightly shifting landscape in recent weeks, with Democrats consolidating leads in several states but Republicans not only clawing back in Tennessee and Virginia but also narrowing their gap in Montana, all but given up as lost by national Republican leaders. Of the nine key battleground states, Republicans are ahead in two and within the polls’ 4 percentage-point margin of error in three more.
RealClear Politics has the following breakdown based on polling averages:
DEMOCRATS NEED TO NET SIX SEATS TO TAKE OVER SENATERCP Avgs: Dems + 5 Seats
MO: Talent* vs McCaskill
NJ: Kean vs Menendez*
TN: Corker vs Ford
VA: Allen* vs Webb
MD: Steele vs Cardin
MI: Bouchard vs Stabenow*
MT: Burns* vs Tester
OH: DeWine* vs Brown
PA: Santorum* vs Casey
RI: Chafee* vs Whitehouse
MN: Kennedy vs Klobuchar
WA: McGavick vs Cantwell*
AZ: Kyl* vs Pederson
CT: Lieberman* vs Lamont
Click the links for a detailed breakdown of the current polling, candidate bios, current news, and other information related to each contest.
The overall trend is bad news for the Republicans. A loss of five seats is huge by any reasonable measure. Still, that would still leave them in control.