And then there's Ohio. Ohio Governor Bob Taft was convicted of ethics violations last year, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell trails by a large margin against Democrat Ted Strickland. Both Republican senators are in trouble; Mike DeWine is running a losing race, and Jim Talent is neck-and-neck with Democrat Claire McCaskill. In the House, Ohio Republicans may lose as many as four seats, though only two losses seem assured.
Add two seats in New York -- Mike Arcuri and Jack Davis are both up big in their respective races -- another seat in North Carolina -- former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler leads Rep. Charles Taylor -- and one in New Mexico -- Patricia Madrid -- and the Democrats would gain 16 seats and control of the House.
This would hardly constitute the seismic shift in the political landscape it could have been. What will keep the race for the House from becoming a landslide, ironically, is the race liberals most cared about: the Connecticut Senate race. There are three vulnerable Republican House seats in Connecticut. Because liberal Democrats ousted Joe Lieberman in the party primary, and because Lieberman is running as an independent, Republicans will turn out to see Lieberman elected -- and in doing so, they will maintain those three House seats for Republicans.
It is still early. There is time enough for Renzi to pull out his race in Arizona, or for Chocola to pull out his in Indiana, or Weldon and Gerlach theirs in Pennsylvania. The 2006 election turns on the thinnest of margins. If Republicans can return America's focus to the crucial issue of national security and rise above day-to-day political pettiness, they may retain control yet.
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