Rich Galen
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Yesterday marked the last round of primary elections so, pending death or deportation, the ballots are set for the 33 US Senate races, all 435 voting Members of the US House, the thousands of state legislative seats, and the tens of thousands of county commissioner, clerk of courts, city council, and mayors races around the country. NOTE: As 56,033 of you have already pointed out, this is not correct. Here are the remaining primaries prior to the November 7 General Elections:

September 19, 2006
MA Primary (Senate and Governor)
WA Primary (Senate)

September 23, 2006
HI Primary (Senate and Governor)
LA Primary

October 3, 2006 FL Runoff

As someone who was an elected City Councilman in the great metropolis of Marietta, Ohio 45750, I can tell you that election night is the same whether you are running in a municipal election or for President of the United States: Family and friends tiptoe around until the outcome - win or lose - is evident, followed by either congratulations or condolences as the occasion requires.

You know how I feel about pretending to be able to discern November election results based upon polls taken in September: I'm not a clairvoyant, but I play one on TV.

Over the past 10 days or so, there has been a decided change in the way reporters and analysts are handicapping the mid-term elections: It seems to have gone from knowing winks between national political reporters and senior Democratic operatives, to a vague sense of wondering whether the Democratic march to the Speaker's office might have taken a wrong turn somewhere.

Analyst Michael Barone said the other day that it was important to remember there aren't 100 seats in play in the House. Something in the area of 30 would be closer to the truth.

If that is correct, then the Democrats need to win one out of every two contested seats - if all the contested seats were held by Republicans which they are not.

Of those thirty, three are in Connecticut where Joe Lieberman's independent campaign for the Senate will likely lead to Republican holds in the three House seats which the Democrats had marked down as pick-ups for them. Only 12 more after Connecticut, they thought. Now it looks as if they will still need 15 after Connecticut.

New York is going to be a wipe-out for Republicans running state-wide. From Hillary Clinton's Senate re-election to Elliot Spitzer's Democratic run for Governor, it is not going to be pretty on the night of November 7.

According to a Sunday NY Times piece, "In fact, just a few months ago, Democrats envisioned significant gains in New York, perhaps picking up as many as four seats, possibly even five" one of which is an upstate districted held by Republican John Sweeney.

Reporter Raymond Hernandez wrote, "A recent poll released by the Siena Research Institute showed Mr. Sweeney with a 19-point lead" which is somewhat outside the margin of error.

Three out of CT; four more out of NY. The Dems thought they might only need 8 more seats as they moved west and south.

But now, it looks like they'll still need 15 coming out of New York and only about 23 contested seats left. Now, they have to do better than play .500 ball. It's up to about .650.

Add to that, there are two seats in Georgia - Democratic seats - which are, according to the LA Times, in play. "Bolstering their chances are new district boundaries drawn up by the first GOP-dominated Georgia Legislature since Reconstruction," wrote reporter Richard Fausset.

If the Dems lose just one out of those two, then they have to win 16 seats everywhere else and the contested list is down to 21. Sixteen wins out of twenty-one races would be a .762 winning rate - better than three out of four.

The electoral roller coaster on which the country will be riding for the next seven weeks will keep our attention. But the Democrats' ride to the top of the US House now looks like a much steeper hill to climb.

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Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.