With the emergence of Christine O’Donnell as a national weapon for the Democrats, the GOP have seen a few of their number slip over the last few days. In some races, which are considered crucial for a GOP victory this coming November, the Democrats have now overtaken the Republican candidates, giving the Dems a fighting chance in those seats.
Still, even with this turn in favor of the Democrats, they still have a fight on their hands, which might still tip the scales to the GOP in the House races in November. Here is what has happened overnight in the political world:
New Mexico: Most of the GOP’s keys to success rely on a number of southwestern seats that flipped over to the Democrats in the last election cycle. And, along with Arizona, New Mexico is one of those battleground states.
In the 2nd District, first term Congressman Harry Teague is taking on former Congressman Steve Pearce. In 2008, Pearce left the house to make an unsuccessful run against Tom Udall for the U.S. Senate.
This led to Teague, and the Democrats, taking the seat in November of 2008. In the recent polls, Teague has had a slight lead over Pearce, who is a strong conservative candidate.
In the most recent Public Policy Poll, which leans Democratic, Teague has only a one-point lead over Pearce, 48% to 47%. Still, in previous polls, Teague has been able to keep between a 2% and 5 % lead. And while this new number could be encouraging for Republicans, all polls still state that they expect a Teague victory.
In the New Mexico 3rd, we see another close race as well. Ben Lujan, who took over the seat from Tom Udall in 2008, is leading energy executive Tom Mullins in the latest Public Policy poll 49% to 43%. Lujan is expected to win this race. But, again, the Republicans have put this seat on their radar. Lujan won this district by 27% in the last general election. Still, Lujan should have at least a 7% or more victory margin come November.
New Jersey: In New Jersey’s 3rd, we have another case where a first term Democratic Congressman, John Adler, took over a GOP seat in 2008. Again, this is a seat that the Republicans would like to pick up this time around. Still, recent poll numbers show that Adler should be able to retain the seat as well.
Unlike other races, the NJ 3rd has the presence of a strong Tea Party candidate, which is an actual political party in New Jersey. The actual Team Party could lead to Democratic victories in both the New Jersey 3rd and the Florida 8th (Congressman Alan Grayson’s district). And in the recent Zogby poll, the Tea Party candidate is polling 8%.
The recent Zogby poll shows Adler with 38%, while Republican Jon Runyan has 30%. Tea Party candidate Peter DeStefano is polling 8%. This 8% could lead to the Democrats retaining this seat as well. Adler only won the seat by 4% in 2008.
West Virginia: While some Tea Partiers are hurting the GOP, others are helping it. In West Virginia’s US Senate race, popular Governor Joe Mancin is in a tough fight with GOP Tea Partier John Raese. In the latest Rasmussen Poll, which usually favors Republican candidates, Raese has a two-point lead over Mancin, 48% to 46%. While Mancin had been leading in most of the polls, the last two weeks have shown both Mancin and Raese swapping positions at the top. Still, the Democrats have to be worried that this race is closer than they wanted it to be.
Connecticut: With the retirement of Democrat Chris Dodd, the Republicans looked to possibly capture Connecticut’s second Senate seat (as, in theory, they have already captured the Lieberman seat). Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is taking on wrestling executive, Republican Linda McMahon.
Like with other Senate seats, the GOP is relying on winning the CT Senate seat in order to take the majority in the Senate.But in poll after poll, Blumenthal continues to keep a slight lead over McMahon. In the resent Rasmussen Poll, Blumenthal still retains a 5-point lead over McMahon.
Blumenthal still stays at 50%, which is extremely important in retaining the seat for the Democrats, while McMahon has 45%. Again, this is looking more and more like a Democratic hold as McMahon has not been able to make up any more ground during this time.