United States House of Representatives elections, 2006 - notable races

United States House of Representatives elections, 2006 - notable races

Summary of party changes

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 110th Congress were held on November 7, 2006. The House of Representatives has 435 seats. In the 109th Congress, Republicans held 230 seats, Democrats held 201, with one independent. This article covers races that resulted in a party change and races that were expected to become or were found to be competitive. For national results see "United States House elections, 2006". For specific results from all 435 races, see "United States House elections, 2006 complete list".

Notable Races List


None of Alabama's seven congressional districts were seriously contested. Democrats Bud Cramer and Artur Davis, won unopposed, and a third, Republican Spencer Bachus, faced token third party opposition.


As widely expected, 32-year incumbent Don Young (R) easily defeated Diane Benson (D) to retain Alaska's sole House seat. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/elections/2006/ak.html Alaska Elections] , "The Washington Post" (accessed November 8, 2006)]


Arizona had been leaning towards the Republican Party in recent elections. However, a number of factors, including the re-election of popular Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, who defeated Republican Len Munsil, along with the national anti-Republican mood, resulted in several close races for its six incumbent Republicans. Of those six, three faced tough challengers, and only Republican Jeff Flake received more than 60% of the vote. Two incumbent Republicans, Rick Renzi and J. D. Hayworth, faced difficult challenges, while Jim Kolbe retired from Congress and left his seat wide open, and was eventually snapped up by the Democrats as a result of the Republicans fielding a strongly conservative candidate that many considered too far to the right for the district.

* ushr|Arizona|1|— Incumbent Rick Renzi is well-known for his strongly conservative positions in a competitive district. In 2002, the Republican was elected with only 49% of the vote and a margin of just 6,000 votes. Renzi gained national attention in 2004 when he engaged in a shouting match with moderate Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois over the issue of embryonic stem cell research, something Renzi strongly opposes. Renzi has also stated that he will not return some $30,000 in campaign contributions from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC, something that his Democratic opponent and other Democrats argued he should do. At one point, Renzi appeared to have an easy race for his third term when Democrat Jack Jackson Jr., a Native American former state representative, dropped his challenge. Democrats then drafted civil rights attorney Ellen Simon, who won the Democratic primary. Despite entering the race in May, Simon had been able to raise $821,595 as of August 23. However, she still trailed Renzi significantly in cash on hand as Renzi held on to a slight lead in the polls. Results: Renzi defeated Simon, 52% to 44%. (For details, see Arizona 1st congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Arizona|5|— Incumbent J.D. Hayworth (R), a member of the Republican freshman class of 1994, had not faced a serious challenge since 1998. At first, the strongly conservative Hayworth appeared well on his way to another easy win. However, Democrats fielded a locally well-known candidate in State Senator Harry Mitchell, the former mayor of Tempe. Mitchell has been a political force in his home town, one of the largest communities in the district, and Democrats became enthusiastic about his candidacy. The district Hayworth represents leans only slightly Republican, and, in addition to Tempe, also includes Scottsdale, the prime real estate of the Phoenix area. Republicans were concerned, but pointed out that Mitchell had gotten off to a late start and that Hayworth would be well-funded. Results: Mitchell defeated Hayworth, 50% to 46%. While most national outlets declared Mitchell the winner on election night, Hayworth didn't concede until November 14.

* ushr|Arizona|8|— Incumbent Jim Kolbe (R) announced on November 23, 2005 that he would not seek re-election in 2006. [ [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=1341353 ABC News: ABC News ] ] His district, located in Southeastern Arizona and based in the suburbs of Tucson, is Republican-leaning, but competitive: President Bush won the district with 53% of the vote in 2004 (although only 50% in 2000). Also, the fact that it has been electing Kolbe, an openly gay Republican, for two decades, often by wide margins (61% in 2004), shows that this district is by no means a socially conservative stronghold. The Democratic primary in September was won by former State Senator Gabrielle Giffords, who resigned from the Arizona Legislature on December 1, 2005 in preparation for the campaign. Randy Graf, a former state Representative who lost to Kolbe in the 2004 primary, won the September 2006 Republican primary. He defeated current state Representative Steve Huffman, whom both Kolbe and the National Republican Congressional Committee supported. The NRCC reportedly became concerned that Graf (a supporter of the Minuteman Project, and a sponsor of an unsuccessful bill that would let patrons carry guns into bars and restaurants), was too conservative to win the district. The NRCC committed $122,000 for a television ad in support of Huffman, which ran the week before the primary. The Democratic party shared that assessment -- prior to the primary, it spent nearly $200,000, "a large part of that for advertisements critical of Mr. Huffman in an effort to help Mr. Graf's candidacy." [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/11/us/politics/11arizona.html In Cost and Vitriol, Race in Arizona Draws Notice - New York Times ] ] In late September, the national GOP canceled about $1 million in advertising support. [cite news | url = http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0922graf0922.html | title=GOP cancels $1 mil in Graf ad support | author=Jon Kamman | publisher=The Arizona Republic|date=September 22, 2006] Libertarian David Nolan also ran for the seat. Results: Giffords went on to win by a 54% to 42% margin. (For details, see Arizona 8th congressional district election, 2006.)


The state of Arkansas is often considered to be different from the rest of the South politically, as the Democratic Party maintains super-majority status in the Arkansas General Assembly, and was once governed by Bill Clinton, who later became President. However, the state is generally considered conservative, although more moderate in contrast to the rest of the South. All incumbents were reelected by comfortable margins.


California's political landscape has changed in the last decade from that of a moderate Republican stronghold that sent local favorites Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to the White House to one increasingly in favor of the Democratic Party as the state voted for Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry in strong numbers. The current Governor, actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a moderate Republican, but faced controversy during his term on a number of issues. However, Schwarzenegger's popularity began to recover, and that eventually led to his re-election. Still, California had a number of congressional races of note, ranging from two hotly contested seats currently held by Republicans with ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, to a re-match of a June 2006 primary campaign to fill the seat of disgraced ex-congressman Duke Cunningham. Recent immigration issues also came into play given California's location next to the border with Mexico.

* ushr|California|4|— Although this Northern California district has generally been considered a safe seat for Republicans, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee singled out the race as being potentially in play, given Republican incumbent John Doolittle’s association with congressional corruption scandals, including ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and defense contractor Brent Wilkes. [ [http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/14265445p-15077761c.html,"Tough path may follow Doolittle's easy victory," "The Sacramento Bee"] , June 8, 2006] [ [http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/nation/election/story/14256707p-15071605c.html "Democrats say they may target Doolittle," "The Sacramento Bee"] , May 18, 2006] Doolittle received less than 42% of the total votes cast in the June 2006 primaries, despite taking 67% of the Republican Primary. [ [http://vote.ss.ca.gov/Returns/usrep/0400.htm California's 4th district primary election results] ] Democratic nominee Charles Brown, Lt. Colonel, USAF Retired, ran against Doolittle in the general election. Results: Doolittle beat Brown 49% to 46% (For details, see California 4th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|California|11|— Longtime incumbent Richard Pombo (R) won reelection in 2004 by a reasonably comfortable 61% to 39% margin, even though the Stockton-based district had been made more competitive by the addition of territory in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area. However, Pombo became associated with the ethical and legal scandals revolving around Jack Abramoff and is currently under investigation, which eroded his popular support. In addition, Rolling Stone listed him as one of the ten worst congressmen. The Democratic candidate who garnered the 39% in 2004, Jerry McNerney, joined that race as a write-in candidate two weeks before the primary election. McNerney is from the East Bay territory that was added in the 2000 round of redistricting. In 2006, McNerney was challenged in the primary by Steve Filson. Filson was backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee but was surprisingly defeated by McNerney in the primary. Pombo was challenged for the Republican nomination by former Representative Pete McCloskey. Pombo won 63% of the primary vote to 32% for McCloskey. [ [http://vote.ss.ca.gov/Returns/usrep/1100.htm California's 11th district primary election results] ] McCloskey eventually endorsed McNerney. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060724/ap_on_el_ho/california_gop_1] Dead link|date=March 2008] Results: McNerney defeated Pombo. For details, see California 11th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|California|22|— Incumbent Republican Bill Thomas, a prominent and influential member of the Republican caucus, retired after more than 25 years in Congress. He represents the agricultural Central Valley, a Republican stronghold where 52% of voters are registered Republicans and 30% are Democrats. He won re-election in 2004 unopposed. The Republican Leader of the California Assembly, Kevin McCarthy, a former aide to Thomas, was the GOP nominee and is very popular in the Central Valley. [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,186960,00.html foxnews.com] ] Results: McCarthy won convincingly, taking in a super-majority of the vote.

* ushr|California|41|— Incumbent Republican Jerry Lewis (R) is under investigation for his connections to the Copeland Lowery lobbying firm. Lewis faced an unknown Democrat opponent, Louie Contreras, in the November general election. Results: There were no significant developments in the investigation by election day; Lewis won with two-thirds of the vote.

* ushr|California|50|Brian Bilbray, a Republican former congressman, won a June 6, 2006, special election to fill the vacancy left by Duke Cunningham, a Republican indicted on bribery charges. He was challenged by Cardiff School Board member Democrat Francine Busby, who appeared to have pulled ahead during the campaign. However, in the final week of the election, Busby told a largely Hispanic group, "You can all help--you don't need papers for voting, you don't need to be a registered voter to help." The Bilbray campaign broadcast that remark throughout the district and deceitfully told voters that Busby was encouraging illegal immigrants to vote. Busby, in fact, was only saying that those who can not legally vote could still help her campaign in other ways. Republicans invested five million dollars in the race, and Democrats two million. Results: Bilbray went on to defeat Busby again in the general election by a 5% margin.


In recent years, Republicans and Democrats have made alternating gains within this state, which is increasingly becoming a key swing state in presidential elections. In 2004, Democrats made gains within the state, gaining a House seat and Senate seat, both held by brothers John and Ken Salazar, respectively. The 2006 election looked very favorable to Colorado Democrats, as Bill Ritter defeated Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez for governor. Colorado boasted some of the most competitive congressional districts in the nation: of the seven, four were competitive (three held by Republicans and one held by a Democrat). The three safe districts were split between two Democrats and one Republican (Dianna DeGette in the 1st, Mark Udall in the 2nd, and Tom Tancredo in the 6th). Bush narrowly carried the state in 2004.

* ushr|Colorado|4|— Incumbent Marilyn Musgrave (R), a Republican who was the sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment won a surprisingly close 51% to 44% reelection in 2004 despite the Republican-leaning nature of her eastern Colorado district. Her district consists of all of Eastern Colorado well east of Denver, and northeastern Colorado around Fort Collins and Loveland. Her Democratic opponent was state Representative Angie Paccione, while former Reagan appointee Eric Eidsness entered the race as a Reform Party candidate. Results: Musgrave beat Paccione by three points, with Eidsness winning 11% of the vote. (For details, see Colorado 4th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Colorado|5|— Incumbent Joel Hefley (R), the dean of the Colorado delegation to the House of Representatives, announced on February 16, 2006, that he will be retiring from his seat and not seeking an 11th term. This district, based in Colorado Springs, has a very strong Republican tilt, so strong that it has not elected a Democrat to represent it since its creation in 1972. State Senator Doug Lamborn narrowly defeated former Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce executive Jeff Crank, a former aide to Hefley, in the six-way primary in August. Hefley, however, citing Lamborn's negative campaign, refused to endorse him. Lamborn faced Democrat Jay Fawcett, a 20-year U.S. Air Force Veteran who fought in the Gulf War. Results: Lamborn went on to defeat Fawcett by a 59% to 41% margin. (For details, see Colorado 5th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Colorado|7|— Incumbent Bob Beauprez (R) was reelected to a second term in 2004 with 55% of the vote, after winning his first term by only 121 votes. His retirement to make an unsuccessful run for Governor of Colorado made this seat highly competitive. The 7th District is located in the western Denver suburbs. State education chairman Rick O'Donnell was unopposed for the Republican nomination, while State Senator Ed Perlmutter won a three-way Democratic primary. Dave Chandler, a Green, was also a candidate. In late September, O'Donnell was put on the defensive when ads appeared noting that he had previously supported abolishing Social Security." Results: Perlmutter won Beauprez's old seat, 55% to 42%. (For details, see Colorado 7th congressional district election, 2006.)


Connecticut's increasingly liberal, and largely independent, voting populace made the Constitution State one of the most competitive battlegrounds in the 2006 election. Incumbent Republican Governor Jodi Rell is one of the most popular Governors in the country, and went on to win her re-election bid easily. Democrats in the state were split at the polls following the primary between Senator Joe Lieberman and anti-war businessman Ned Lamont. After losing the August primary, the centrist Lieberman ran as an independent and defeated Lamont with an advantage of 10 percent and over 100,000 votes. ("See Connecticut United States Senate election, 2006.") With President Bush highly unpopular in New England, its three Republican congressmen were in danger of losing their seats to Democrats. Two lost their re-election bids, while Shays was reelected.

* ushr|Connecticut|2|— Incumbent Rob Simmons (R) a Vietnam War veteran and former CIA agent, won reelection by 54% to 46% in 2004, in a Democratic-leaning district encompassing eastern Connecticut, which includes Norwich and New London. The 2002 nominee, former state Representative Joe Courtney decided to make another run. Simmons received the lion's share of the credit from a friendly media when he argued that he had saved the New London submarine base from closure in the BRAC process. During his last political campaign, however, Simmons had argued that he would keep the Groton base off the list for closure. The press made far less of the contract for the Air Force One helicopter which went to a European firm instead of traditional provider Sikorsky of Connecticut. Simmons and others who sought the label of "moderate" during the 2006 election referred often to fellow Vietnam War veteran John McCain. Yet, Simmons and McCain differed on the issue of torture, and while both Simmons and McCain voted for the Military Commissions Act, Simmons was far and away the bigger supporter. Since President George W. Bush's approval rating was so low, Simmons invited his father, George H. W. Bush, to Connecticut for a September 6 fundraising breakfast in Westbrook, Connecticut. Then, when the President arrived in Connecticut, Simmons did not attend the event. In the past Simmons had received both President Bush and Vice President Cheney at campaign events in Connecticut but during 2006 his close ties with the White House may have helped Courtney. Results: A recount of the election was completed on November 14, 2006, with the final results giving Joe Courtney an 83-vote victory over Rob Simmons. [http://www.nbc30.com/politics/10318760/detail.html] It was the closest house race of 2006.

* Connecticut's 4th congressional district— Incumbent Chris Shays (R) won reelection by a 52% to 48% margin in 2004 and represents a wealthy district encompassing southwestern Connecticut that includes Bridgeport and Westport. Much like similar districts in Westchester and Long Island, New York, the district had once been a Republican bastion, but swung heavily to the Democrats in the 1990s at the national level. Former Westport Selectwoman Diane Farrell, the 2004 nominee, challenged Shays again and was well-funded. Shays' problem was almost exclusively centered on his support for the Iraq War, as he is mostly liberal on domestic issues. Shays' endorsement of Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman struck many as signs of worry on his part, but now may seem prescient. Shays could not be attacked as a knee-jerk conservative, but local unpopularity of both George W. Bush and the Iraq War helped Farrell's campaign. Robocalls by groups thought to support Farrell were made in the district during July falsely claiming Shays supported President Bush's opposition to stem cell research; one local newspaper called the phone campaign "despicable". [ [http://www.connpost.com/editorials/ci_4106583 The Connecticut Post Online - Anti-Shays calls simply despicable ] ] In late August the "Hartford Courant" reported that Shays and Farrell's position on Iraq had seemed to converge [cite web| url=http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-shays0819.artaug19,0,7332162.story?coll=hc-headlines-home| publisher=Hartford Courant| title=404 error| accessdate=2006-10-13] In the later stages of the campaign, Shays made at least two very strange statements involving national scandals. On October 11, Shays referenced the death of a woman caused by Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy's drunk driving accident on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts 37 years earlier in an attempt to defend Speaker Dennis Hastert saying, "Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody" [http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/11/shays.kennedy.ap/index.html] On October 13, Shays surprised many when he claimed that the Abu Gharib prison abuse was "not torture" but a "sex ring." [http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2564254] Farrell had nearly $1.4 million on hand. [ [http://blogs.courant.com/colin_mcenroe_to_wit/2006/08/summer_follies.html Colin McEnroe | To Wit: Summer Follies ] ] Results: Shays won with a 51% to 48% victory. (For details, see Connecticut 4th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Connecticut|5|— Although incumbent Nancy Johnson (R) won with at least 60% of the vote in 2004 and faced a difficult challenge (running against a fellow incumbent in a redrawn district) in 2002, winning with just 54%, she was still a Republican in a swing district. While the 5th is Connecticut's most conservative region, John Kerry won the district by about 1100 votes in 2004 and Al Gore won it when Johnson represented it as the 6th District in 2000. Johnson faced a credible challenge from state Senator Chris Murphy. She is popular in the district, but with Bush's rating in New England at rock bottom, a Democratic victory was possible. In fact, in a slightly more Democratic district and with a weak Republican presidential candidate, Bob Dole, leading the ticket, Johnson very nearly lost in 1996. Johnson has proven to be a prodigious fundraiser, and added $867,000 to her coffers in April-June 2006, raising her cash on hand to over $2.6 million. Results: Nancy Johnson lost her bid for re-election to Murphy, who outpolled her by 56% to 44%.


Delaware's only congressman, Republican and former governor Michael N. Castle, cruised to an 18-point victory and will now serve an eighth term in Congress. He is the President of The Republican Main Street Partnership. Castle suffered two minor strokes on September 23 but according to his doctors is expected to make a full recovery. [cite news | author = Associated Press
title = Castle says he's recuperating from stroke
url = http://www.examiner.com/a-321280~Castle_says_he_s_recuperating_from_stroke.html
publisher = Examiner | date = 2006-10-01 | accessdate = 2006-10-29


Republicans lost two seats in Florida. The Mark Foley scandal caused ballot turmoil in ushr|Florida|16|District 16 which led to Democrats taking the Republican Foley's seat. In ushr|Florida|22|District 22, 13-term incumbent E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R) was defeated by Florida State Senator, Ron Klein (D). ushr|Florida|13|District 13's incumbent, Katherine Harris (R), vacated her seat to run for U.S. Senate but was soundly defeated by incumbent Senator Bill Nelson. Meanwhile, the election for her seat is the only congressional house seat in which following state certification of a winner (R by almost 400 votes), the 2nd place finisher challenged the election in court. Court proceedings are still ongoing.


A recent redistricting changed the boundaries of Georgia's congressional districts. While historically a Democratic state, the state has leaned more and more to the Republican Party and had given rise to a prominent Republican congressman in Newt Gingrich, the one-time House Speaker who triumphed in the 1994 Republican Revolution that is best known for the Contract with America. This resulted in tough challenges for two of Georgia's Democratic congressmen, the ushr|Georgia|8|8th District's Jim Marshall and the ushr|Georgia|12|12th District's John Barrow. Both narrowly won reelection.


While Hawaii has historically been a stronghold for the Democratic Party, Republicans have made some inroads within the state, most notably in the election of Governor Linda Lingle, the first Republican to win the office in forty years. The warnings of one of Hawaii's two members of the House of Representatives in regards to the ages of its two elderly U.S. Senators has also resulted in a major primary battle between U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and Representative Ed Case, leaving one of Hawaii's two Congressional seats open. The primary was on September 23, 2006.

* ushr|Hawaii|2|— In a surprise move, Rep. Ed Case announced in January 2006 that he would challenge Daniel Akaka for the Democratic nomination to the United States Senate. This opened up his Democratic-leaning seat, which includes nearly all of the state outside the immediate Honolulu area. The district has a strong Democratic tilt, although Republicans occasionally win elections there. Both parties had primaries which turned out to be cliffhangers. Former Lieutenant Governor Mazie Hirono won the 10-candidate Democratic primary, outpolling state Senator Colleen Hanabusa, by only 836 votes, while in the Republican primary, state Senator Bob Hogue edged out former state Representative Quentin Kawananakoa, a descendant of the Hawaiian Royal Family, by 189 votes. The district's politics and Hirono's name recognition from her 2002 campaign for Governor made her the solid favorite, although Hogue benefitted from being a local sportscaster and columnist. Few were surprised when Hirono won by a 61% to 39% margin.


In recent years, the state of Idaho has transformed itself into a steadfast breadwinner for the Republican Party, electing Republican presidential candidates in double-digit margins. The appointment of Governor Dirk Kempthorne to the United States Secretary of the Interior in ushr|Idaho|1|— Incumbent Butch Otter (R) ran for governor. Though it elected a Democrat in 1990 and 1992, the district, which contains the Idaho Panhandle region and most of the Boise metropolitan area, has been reliably Republican in recent years. In the May 23 primary, hard-line conservative state Representative Bill Sali edged out a crowded field to win the Republican nomination with 26%. Attorney Larry Grant won the Democratic nomination. Sali is a controversial figure in Idaho politics who clashed repeatedly with Republican leadership in the Idaho Legislature. He also ran a lot of negative ads against his fellow Republicans to win the nomination. Some of Sali's Republican detractors publicly said that they would back Grant in the general election. All this gave Grant a boost in the general election, but Sali remained favored given the GOP tilt of the area and the popular Otter at the top of the ticket. Grant made gains late in the campaign, but Sali held on to win 50% to 45%. (For details, see Idaho 1st congressional district election, 2006.)


Besides boasting one of the largest delegations in the House, Illinois has also strengthened its presence within the Democratic Party. Three House members in the northern and western suburbs of Chicago are involved in competitive races that hold a variety of scenarios for Republicans. One Republican hoped to follow in the footsteps of a retiring veteran House member, another looked to hold on a seat that also voted for John Kerry and Barack Obama, and a third looked to take back a Republican-leaning seat lost to a Democrat in 2004. Both Republicans and Democrats have seen some of their elected officials come under fire recently, with Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert taking the heat of criticism from the Mark Foley scandal, while Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich has seen his administration come under investigation for practices related to contracts involving the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and its vendors.

* ushr|Illinois|6|— Incumbent Henry Hyde (R) retired after 16 terms in the House. Decorated Iraq War Combat Veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs in combat, received substantial backing from the state and national Democratic Party, winning in the primary. State Senator Peter Roskam ran as the Republican candidate. Duckworth emphasized an opposition to so-called spending "earmarks," and promoted her support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. But Republican officials and Roskam's campaign charged that Duckworth did not stake out clear positions on some major issues and was too closely tied to Chicago Democratic strategists who recruited her and advised her campaign. The district contains some of the western suburbs of Chicago in DuPage and Cook counties. Democratic strength in the district has grown in recent years, but the balance still tilts to the Republicans. Duckworth's compelling biography and her campaign's heavy financial backing and free publicity made her chances seem good, and Democrats had high hopes. However, Roskam edged her out by a 51% to 49% margin.

* ushr|Illinois|8|— Incumbent Melissa Bean (D) defeated 35-year House veteran Phil Crane 52%-48% in 2004. Her district is considered the most Republican district in the Chicago area (and according to some experts, in all of Illinois) and includes the northern suburbs of Chicago in and around Lake County. Bush carried the district easily in 2004, making this a prime target for Republicans. Investment banker David McSweeney, who has been willing to spend much of his own money on the campaign, won a crowded Republican primary. A more liberal third party candidate and former 2004 Democratic candidate, Bill Scheurer, ran as well and some labor unions did not support the moderate Bean, complicating her re-election chances; but the Chamber of Commerce endorsed her and provided $400,000 for an early TV ad buy. An October 24 Daily Herald poll had Bean leading McSweeney 42% to 39% [http://www.dailyherald.com/polls/102906/mainstory.html] . McSweeney made a serious race for the seat, but Bean won a second term by a 51% to 44% margin. (For details, see Illinois 8th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Illinois|10|— Although reliably Republican in past elections, this district located in the northern suburbs of Chicago in coastal Cook and Lake counties, along Lake Michigan, has historically been a moderate Republican stronghold. However, it has not supported a Republican for president since 1988, which made re-election a challenge for Republican incumbent Mark Kirk. Kirk is the head of the Moderate Republican caucus and has voted equally along Democratic and Republican party lines. He is fiscally conservative, but remains pro-choice and pro-environment. Democratic hopes for winning here rose after Bean's win in the far more conservative 8th District. The Democratic candidate was GE Commercial Finance Director of Marketing Dan Seals. As of July 2005, Seals had over half a million dollars on hand. As a result, Kirk had his most difficult race in years, but he prevailed by a 53% to 47% margin. (For details, see Illinois 10th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Illinois|11|— Republican Jerry Weller, who was part of the 1994 Republican Revolution in which the GOP took control of Congress, was reelected with 59% of the vote in 2004. In 2006, Weller faced Democrat John Pavich, who if elected would have have become the youngest member of Congress. Weller defeated Pavich, 55% to 45%, a narrower margin than expected. Weller was a staff member for state representative Tom Corcoran from 1980 to 1981, assistant to the director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and an aide to Secretary of Agriculture John R. Block from 1981 to 1985. In 1988, Weller was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives where he served until 1994. Weller was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 following the retirement of Democrat George Sangmeister. Weller defeated New Lenox attorney Robert T. Herbolsheimer in the Republican primary, and Democrat Frank Giglio in the general election. (For details, see Illinois 11th congressional district election, 2006.)

*ushr|Illinois|14|— Republican Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House at the time of the 2006 race, won the 2004 election by a 2 to 1 margin. Until revelations of Hastert's role in the Mark Foley scandal Hastert was facing minimal opposition from Democratic challenger John Laesch. Due to this revelation, Hastert is faced calls for his resignation as Speaker. He was reelected by 60% to 40%, a solid win, but his narrowest margin in several years. Hastert will not run for reelection in 2008.

* ushr|Illinois|17|— This western Illinois district, which includes Moline and Rock Island, was unexpectedly vacated when longtime liberal Congressman Lane Evans announced that he would not seek reelection due to a decline in his health. The Democratic nominee was Phil Hare, a former aide to Evans. The Republican nominee, former newscaster Andrea Lane Zinga, ran against Evans in 2004 and won 39% of the vote. The district leans Democratic, but not overwhelmingly so. But the Democratic trend both nationwide and in Illinois were more than enough for Hare, who polled 57% of the vote.

* ushr|Illinois|19|-The Mark Foley scandal had little effect on the outcome of Republican incumbent John Shimkus' re-election campaign. Shimkus was the Chairman of the House Page Board and did not inform fellow Page Board members, including Dale Kildee (D), of allegations against Foley. But Shimkus had no trouble outpolling his Democratic opponent, Centralia City Councilman Dan Stover, 61% to 39%.


Indiana has long been the most Republican-friendly state in the Midwest. The Democrats did not field a candidate in the Senate race, leaving the popular incumbent since 1976, Richard Lugar, running against Libertarian Steve Osborn (Although this is more due to the strength and popularity of Lugar himself than that of the GOP). However, three of the Hoosier State's Republican congressmen had become targets of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/15059501.htm]

* ushr|Indiana|2|Chris Chocola (R) was first elected in 2002 by a 50% to 46% margin. Democrat Joe Donnelly, who lost to Chocola 54% to 45% in 2004, ran again in 2006. Democrats blamed Donnelly's 2004 loss on a lack of funding from the national party that allowed Chocola to outspend Donnelly by a two-to-one margin. However, President Bush visited the South Bend-based district seven times between 2000 and 2006, suggesting that Chocola was vulnerable. Chocola's popularity was also affected by the unpopularity of GOP Governor Mitch Daniels; among other things, Daniels decided to lease a toll road which runs through the district to a foreign corporation, which then raised toll rates dramatically. Daniels also pushed to move the entire state to Daylight Savings Time, which was opposed by local residents. In the campaign, Chocola attacked Donnelly for being delinquent in paying property taxes. "Results: Donnelly defeated the incumbent Chocola, 54% to 46%."

* ushr|Indiana|7|Julia Carson (D) had held this seat, based in urban Indianapolis, since 1996, and always won by comfortable margins. This year was expected to be no exception, but Republican automobile dealer Eric Dickerson ran an aggressive grass-roots campaign after defeating a party-endorsed candidate in the Republican primary. An October poll shocked observers of both parties when it showed Dickerson narrowly leading, 45% to 42% [http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061020/LOCAL19/610200504] . Carson responded that she always polls more strongly than expected on Election Day. "Results: Carson beat Dickerson 54% to 46%" (For details, see Indiana 7th congressional district election, 2006).

* ushr|Indiana|8|John Hostettler (R), who had only a 34% approval rating, was challenged by Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth. Hostettler had a history of winning tough reelections, but Ellsworth was considered to be his strongest opponent. The district has been nicknamed "The Bloody Eighth" due to its frequent ousting of incumbent congressmen--it ousted four incumbents from 1966 to 1984. Results Ellsworth defeated the incumbent Hostettler, 61% to 39% in the most one-sided defeat for an incument in the 2006 cycle."

* ushr|Indiana|9|— In 2004, incumbent Mike Sodrel (R) defeated then-incumbent Baron Hill by only 1,425 votes, the smallest winning percentage in any congressional race that year. Hill ran in 2006 to reclaim his seat, defeating anti-war challenger Gretchen Clearwater in the May 2 primary. Factors cited in the race included Sodrel being a self-described staunch Republican Party loyalist in an evenly divided district, Hill lacking the advantages of incumbency in 2006, and (according to Democrats) Hill's superior constituent service compared Sodrel's. "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up." "Results: Hill defeated incumbent Sodrell 50% to 46%."


Iowa is known as a moderate state that often leans between Republicans and Democrats in national elections. With Democratic Governor and then-potential 2008 presidential candidate Tom Vilsack leaving office after the 2006 election, Republican Congressman Jim Nussle ran for governor, leaving a vacant seat in his district.

* ushr|Iowa|1|— Incumbent Jim Nussle (R) left his seat in Congress to run for governor. This district is Democratic-leaning, and of the open seats was one of the most likely to change hands. It contains most of northeastern Iowa including large cities such as Dubuque, the Quad Cities and Waterloo. Businessman Mike Whalen won the Republican nomination by emphasizing border security, while attorney Bruce Braley was the Democratic nominee. Nussle was reelected in 2000 and 2004 with 55% of the vote but Al Gore and John Kerry won the district in those same years. "Results: Braley defeated Whalen, 55% to 43%." (For details, see Iowa 1st congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Iowa|2|- Incumbent Jim Leach (R) received 59% of the vote in 2004. This is the most Democratic district in Iowa. However, Leach had consistently won here since 1976, helped by his reputation for strong integrity. Also helping him was that he was consistently among the most liberal Republicans in the House. As a result, he won large numbers of crossover Democrats over the years and was expected to do so again. Democrat David Loebsack edged him out of office in 2006. "Results: Loebsack beat the incumbent Leach 51% to 49% ."

* ushr|Iowa|3|— Incumbent Leonard Boswell (D) won a closer than expected 2004 reelection in a district containing Des Moines and its surrounding areas. Republican state Senate President Jeff Lamberti challenged Boswell and was well-funded. Lamberti ran an energetic campaign and Republicans named him as one of their most promising challengers. "Results: Boswell beat Lamberti 52% to 46%."


Although Kansas is known widely as a predominantly Republican state, Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius is popular with voters here. Given that, Democrats believed they had a shot at making gains in the Sunflower State in 2006. As it turned out, Sebelius was reelected in a landslide, and the Democrats managed to take a seat from the Republicans.

* ushr|Kansas|2|— Incumbent Jim Ryun (R), a leading conservative and former Olympic silver medalist, won re-election by 56% to 41% in 2004 and has held this seat for five terms. This year, Ryun faced a rematch with Democrat Nancy Boyda, his opponent in 2004. This district is based in the state capital, Topeka. It also includes Leavenworth, Pittsburg, Manhattan (location of Kansas State University), and half of the liberal college town of Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas. The district also has been Democratic in the past; before 1994, Democrats held the seat for 20 out of 24 years. However, Kansas lost a seat in the 1990s round of redistricting. Most of right-leaning southeast Kansas was added to the district. However, the seat is still far less Republican than the neighboring 1st and 4th districts. Ryun faced a spirited contest for the then-open seat in 1996, but didn't face serious opposition again until Boyda's bid in 2004. However, Ryun faced controversy over a Washington, D.C. real estate purchase: Ed Buckham's U.S. Family Network sold a townhouse to him at a $19,000 loss after two years of ownership, despite the fact that housing values were rising dramatically in that area. In the wake of scandals that rocked the capital this year, this had a major effect on local voters, far more than had been expected. "Results: Boyda defeated the incumbent Ryun 51% to 47%."


Kentucky has always leaned more toward Democratic candidates; Democrats have a large majority in registration. In more recent years, Kentucky has been increasingly friendly to Republicans in recent state and national elections. But with incumbent Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher unpopular at the moment, and a conservative Democrat looking to take back a seat he left behind in the previous election cycle, cracks have started to show in a state that easily went to George W. Bush.

* ushr|Kentucky|2|— Incumbent Ron Lewis (R) was seeking a sixth full term (seventh total) in this west-central Kentucky district. The district has a quite conservative bent. Lewis has had no trouble winning reelection after succeeding longtime Democrat William Natcher. His special election victory turned out to be the first sign of the Republican wave later that year. But when first elected, he had promised to serve only six full terms. He was challenged by state Representative Mike Weaver, whose background in business and War Veteran of both Korea and Vietnam made it hard to portray him as a liberal. However, Weaver had trouble raising money. Results: Lewis beat Weaver 55% to 45%."

* ushr|Kentucky|3|— Incumbent Anne Northup (R) has been a target for the Democrats since her upset victory in 1996. The district is far and away the most Democratic district in Kentucky; in 2004 and 2000, John Kerry and Al Gore both won her congressional district by two percent, and Bill Clinton won the district by double-digit margins during the 1990s. While Northup has generally run close races, she won 60% of the vote in the 2004 election. Redistricting after the 2000 census added a few Republican-leaning suburbs to the district, according to "Congressional Quarterly". The Democratic candidate for 2006 was John Yarmuth, the founder of local free publication LEO. In spite of Northup's electoral success, excellent constituent services, and popularity among blue-collar voters in southern Lousiville, Democrats saw this race as winnable, since Northrup voted with unpopular President Bush 91% of the time. This race was one of the most hotly contested races, but she had always beaten the odds and Republicans had expected that she would do so again. "Results: Yarmuth defeated the incumbent Northup 51% to 48%"

* ushr|Kentucky|4|— First-term incumbent Geoff Davis (R) was being challenged by retired U.S. Air Force Major Ken Lucas (D), who held the seat from 1999 to 2005. Lucas defeated Davis 51% to 48% in 2002, and retired in 2004, adhering to a pledge of serving only three consecutive terms in the House. Lucas was among the most conservative Democrats in Congress and remains well-known in the district, which includes most of Kentucky's share of the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Brian Houillion (L) entered the race on June 19. In late July "The Washington Post" also rated the race as a toss-up. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/custom/2006/07/22/CU2006072200370.html Eight Issues That Will Shape the 2006 Elections (washingtonpost.com) ] ] However, Davis is an aggressive campaigner who had spent lots of time in the district. It paid off. Results: Davis beat Lucas 51% to 44%."


Like most of the Deep South, Louisiana is ancestrally Democratic. However, Republicans have held a majority of the state's congressional seats since 1995. In 2004, the state became the last former Confederate state to have a popularly elected Republican senator. But this year, a number of congressional seats in the southern portion of Louisiana will all be impacted to some extent as a result of Hurricane Katrina, as well as Hurricane Rita, both of which have caused massive damage within Louisiana. For example, most of New Orleans' majority African-American communities have been displaced by Katrina, which in addition to the William Jefferson bribery scandal, could result in a higher Republican turnout in traditionally heavily Democratic New Orleans. Also, several Southwestern Louisiana communities that were heavily damaged or destroyed in Rita could also be a factor in voter turnout, given the possibility of how many residents in that region moved elsewhere. Democrats are also saddled with the unpopularity of Governor Kathleen Blanco, who has a -15% net approval rating according to a recent [http://www.survey-usa.com/50State2006/50StateGovernor060720Net.htm Survey USA poll] .

The "primary" was on Election Day, November 7, 2006. Unlike other states, which use a primary voting system in which the top vote-getter from each of the parties participating in the election advance to the general election, the Louisiana primary system calls for a jungle primary system in which all candidates—Republicans, Democrats, and third parties — run at the same time. The top two vote-getters then take part in a run-off election the following month. In most cases, however, the incumbent is able to avoid a runoff.

* ushr|Louisiana|2|— Incumbent Congressman William Jefferson (D) has been under intense investigation and the FBI has claimed that it has videotaped him accepting $100,000 in bribes. The police also found money in Jefferson's freezer that was hidden amidst frozen food products. Jefferson was stripped of his membership in the Ways and Means Committee as a result of this scandal. The seat includes most of New Orleans. No Republican has represented this district since Reconstruction, and the Republicans haven't made a serious bid for the seat since the mid-1960s. A Republican lawyer, Joe Lavigne, ran against Jefferson, while a number of Democrats also jumped into the race, including state Senator Derrick Shepherd of Marrero, former New Orleans City Councilman Troy Carter, and state Representative Karen Carter. In mid-October, the State Democratic party voted to endorse Karen Carter, the first time in recent memory that the state party has backed a challenger to its own incumbent Congressman. [cite news | title=Democratic Party in La. Backs Rival Of Jefferson | publisher=Associated Press | date=October 15, 2006 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/14/AR2006101401267.html] "Cook Political Report rating: Likely Democratic. Results: Jefferson and Karen Carter finished in the top two places with 30% and 22% respectively, sending them to a run-off, which Jefferson won." (For details, see Louisiana 2nd congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Louisiana|3|— In a December 2004 runoff, Charlie Melancon (D) squeaked into Congress by 569 votes over Billy Tauzin III, the son and namesake of his popular predecessor. His is a swing district in southeast Louisiana, which may make him vulnerable. However, Louisiana's unique "Jungle Primary" voting system leaves everything subject to speculation. Melancon was challenged by state Senator Craig Romero (R), who finished a close third in the 2004 open primary. This race was difficult to predict. Melancon had compiled a moderate record, and his work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina drew widespread approval. However, many voters (particularly African-Americans and the poor, two strongly Democratic demographics) have moved elsewhere while the cleanup commences, and it's unclear how many of them will return. "Results: Melancon beat Romero 55% to 40%."

* ushr|Louisiana|7|Charles Boustany (R) won 55% to 45% in the December 2004 runoff for this historically Democratic seat. As the incumbent, he was expected to be re-elected in this relatively conservative Southwest Louisiana district. He got a break when Chris John, the Democrat who represented this district from 1997 until his Senate run in 2004, decided not to run again. Boustany was opposed by Mike Stagg, a technology consultant. "CQPolitics rating: Republican Favored. Results: Boustany defeated Stagg 71% to 29%."


Maine continued its drift into the Democratic column, reelecting both Democratic incumbents by large margins. In fast growing southern Maine, Tom Allen received 61% of the vote against Republican Darlene Curley and anti-war Independent Dexter Kamilewic. In the state's rural second district, Mike Michaud received 71% against Republican Scott D'Amboise.

The state has voted Democratic in the last four presidential elections, and has not elected a Republican governor since 1990. The state is home to two moderate Republican senators: Olympia Snowe, who easily won re-election in 2006, and Susan Collins, who is up in 2008.


Even though Republicans have made gains in recent years with such high-profile names as Governor Robert Ehrlich and Lieutenant Governor and 2006 U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele, Maryland is still a Democratic stronghold. Republicans have only carried the state twice since the Eisenhower administration, and have not seriously contested the state since 1988.

* ushr|Maryland|3|— Incumbent Ben Cardin (D) ran for the open Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Paul Sarbanes. The primary elections for both parties were held on September 12, 2006. John Sarbanes, an attorney and son of Paul Sarbanes, won the Democratic nomination with 32% of the vote, while John White, a business executive, won the Republican nomination. The district consists of parts of Baltimore City as well as parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Howard Counties. It includes the state capital of Annapolis. A Republican has not represented a significant portion of Baltimore in decades, and most pundits did not expect the 3rd to divert from form. "CQPolitics rating: Democratic Favored. Results: Sarbanes easily defeated White, 65% to 33%."


Massachusetts has the largest single-party delegation: ten Democrats, all of whom were re-elected in 2006 without serious challenges; six of them unopposed. In 2004, four of the ten congressmen ran unopposed, and each of the six others received at least 64% of the vote.


The state of Michigan has historically been a swing state because of the Republicans' presence in the northern and western portions of the state, as well as the Democrats' strong pro-labor tilt coming from the automotive industry mainly centered around Detroit and Flint.

* ushr|Michigan|7|— Incumbent Republican freshman Joe Schwarz was defeated in the August 8 primary by more conservative former State Representative Tim Walberg, who also ran against Schwarz in the 2004 Republican primary. Walberg received significant support in the 2006 primary from the Club for Growth. The Democratic Party nominee was Sharon Reiner; she hoped that Walberg's hard-line views would be much more unpopular with the general public. Schwarz refused to endorse Walberg [http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061013/COLUMNIST17/610130325/-1/NEWS32] and then filed as a write-in candidate for re-election. [http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061106/ELECTIONS/611060353] Citing radical views on both sides, the Detroit News refused to endorse either candidate and instead endorsed the Libertarian Party Candidate, Robert L. Hutchinson. A late October poll gave Reiner a 48% to 47% edge over Walberg. [http://www.thedailyreporter.com/articles/2006/11/03/news/news03.txt] "Results: Walberg defeated Renier 51% to 46%."

* ushr|Michigan|8|— Incumbent Mike J. Rogers (R) easily defeated pro-life activist Patrick Flynn 84% to 16% in the Republican primary. Rogers' Democratic challenger was former CIA agent James Marcinkowski, who had the financial resources to mount a serious campaign. "CQPolitics rating: Republican Favored. Results:Rogers beat Marcinkowski 55% to 43%." (For details, see Michigan 8th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Michigan|9|— Incumbent Joe Knollenberg (R) did not have a great campaign in 2004. Though he won with 58% of the vote, that was only after he outspent his opponent (attorney Steve Reifman) by more than 10-to-1. For a 7-term incumbent, this is less than spectacular. Also, the fact that Bush barely won the Oakland County-based district in 2004 with 50% of the vote shows that it is no longer a Republican stronghold; it was once considered the most Republican district in the Detroit area. Knollenberg was potentially vulnerable this year. First, he faced a respectable primary opponent in Oakland County School Board member Patricia Godchaux, a moderate ex-state Representative who accused Knollenberg of being ineffective. Knollenberg ended up decisively winning his primary 69% to 31%. For the November general election, radio talk host Nancy Skinner (on Air America Radio affiliate WDTW) was the Democratic challenger. Skinner has raised a considerable amount of money compared to candidates in prior races and repeated Godchaux's accusations of Knollenberg being ineffective. She was endorsed by the UAW, AFL-CIO and NOW. Skinner had previously lived in Illinois, where she had lost to Barack Obama in the Illinois State Senate primary two years ago. An internal poll put Skinner and Knollenberg in a statistical tie. However, Knollenberg retained his seat, defeating Skinner by six percentage points in the final election; local consensus within the Oakland County Democratic Party places blame on Skinner's personality (often perceived as confrontational) and confirmed liberalism (which is believed to have distanced her from right-leaning Troy, the largest city in the district). "Results: Knollenberg beat Skinner 52% to 46%."


In recent years, Minnesota, largely known as a Democratic stronghold that created such nationally-known names as Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, has been increasingly friendly to Republicans. Still, Democrats, known in Minnesota as DFLers (for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party), continue to have an advantage in this state. The primary was on September 12, 2006.

* ushr|Minnesota|1|- Incumbent Gil Gutknecht (R) was reelected with 60% of the vote in 2004. A member of the 1994 Republican Revolution, Gutknecht had promised not to run for a seventh term when first elected. Though not expected to be a significant factor, the broken promise backfired on Gutknecht. Geography teacher Tim Walz was the Democratic nominee and ran a much stronger campaign than anyone expected, helped by the massive decline in President Bush's popularity in Minnesota. "Cook Political Report rating: Likely Republican." Result: Walz won the district with 53% of the vote in a major upset. [http://edition.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/MN/H/01/index.html]

* ushr|Minnesota|2|— Incumbent John Kline (R) was reelected in 2004 due to the collapse of his challenger's campaign, winning by a margin of 57% to 40%. Things were expected to be very different in 2006. Whistleblower and Former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, who accused the bureau of mishandling pre-9/11 intelligence, is running as a Democrat, and her presence initially garnered media attention. The 2nd district, south of the Twin Cities, leans Republican but is not out of reach for a Democrat (it was held by Democrat Bill Luther from 1995 until redistricting caused his defeat by Kline in 2002). However, Rowley's credibility was damaged when her campaign website showed an image of Kline's face imposed on Colonel Klink from "Hogan's Heroes". After widespread criticism, she publicly apologized. An October 31 SurveyUSA poll had Kline leading Rowley 54% to 36%. [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportEmail.aspx?g=b6253f5f-d1a7-4327-8316-b58cafd209d7] Result: Kline won the election with 56% of the vote. [http://edition.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/MN/H/02/index.html]

* ushr|Minnesota|5|— Incumbent Martin Olav Sabo (D) retired after 26 years in the House. He won reelection with 70% of the vote in 2004 in a district that went for John Kerry by 71%. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party had endorsed state Representative Keith Ellison, who won the primary election on September 12 against a wide range of candidates, including Sabo's Chief of Staff, Mike Erlandson. Ellison is a Muslim and, when elected, became the first Muslim to serve in Congress. Ellison's most serious challenger was Independence Party nominee Tammy Lee. First considered a longshot, Lee gained momentum late in the election in part because of Ellison's personal problems and in part due to endorsments from a coalition of prominent Minnesota Democrats and Republicans. [http://www.startribune.com/587/story/779641.html] The most striking of these supporters, perhaps, was Kathleen Anderson, Sabo's long-time district director who has called Ellison a "scofflaw" and said that Tammy Lee is the only candidate honorable enough to carry on Sabo's legacy. [http://www.skywaynews.net/articles/2006/10/30/news/news10.txt] In fact, Sabo refused to endorse Ellison, instead taking a picture with Lee and allowing her to use it in her commercials and literature. [http://www.kstp.com/article/stories/S19767.html?cat=1] The longshot in this race was Republican Alan Fine, who lashed out at Ellison the day after the primary, calling him a racist and an anti-Semite. Over the last three elections, no Republican has garnered over 26% of the vote in this district. Given that 59% of primary voters in the Democratic primary opposed the party-endorsed Ellison, many were watching this race anticipating a possible upset. [http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20061102-090359-2762r.htm] "CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic." Result: Keith Ellison won the race easily with 56% of the vote. [http://edition.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/MN/H/05/index.html] (For details, see Minnesota 5th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Minnesota|6|— Incumbent Mark Kennedy (R) had vacated this seat and ran for the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Mark Dayton. The sixth district is located in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities, and extends northwest to St. Cloud. The Independence Party of Minnesota candidate for the House seat was student and political newcomer John Binkowski, a longtime resident of St. Marys Point. The Republican nominee for the House seat was State Senator Michele Bachmann, an outspoken social conservative. Patty Wetterling, who mustered 46% against Kennedy as the Democratic candidate in 2004, was the Democratic nominee. She originally stated her intent to make a second try for the House seat; then campaigned for the United States Senate instead; upon abruptly dropping out of the Senate race, she re-launched a second campaign for the Sixth District House seat. At the party's nominating convention she defeated former Blaine mayor Elwyn Tinklenberg who is also a former minister opposed to abortion and gun control. Tinklenberg had entered the race only after receiving Wetterling's assurance that she would not be running, and he was supported by the DCCC, which considered him to be more electable due to his moderate views. The liberal Wetterling had to try to win over Tinklenberg's former supporters, some of whom are angry about her going back on her word. The northern Twin Cities suburbs that dominate the Sixth District are understood to have been the politically quirky heart of Jesse Ventura's success at the expense of the two major parties. Also, St. Cloud has long been a center of anti-abortion activism. This district leans Republican, but not overwhelmingly so. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had Bachmann leading Wetterling 48% to 47% [http://constituentdynamics.com/mw/race-summary] . A November 3 SurveyUSA poll has Bachmann leading Wetterling 49% to 42% [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=7e499670-70d1-4892-8fdd-3fd34327eaa0] . "Cook Political Report rating: Lean Republican." In mid-August, "CQPolitics" changed their rating of this race from Leans Republican to "No Clear Favorite". [http://www.cqpolitics.com//2006/08/big_batch_of_rating_changes_re.html] Result: Bachmann outpolled Wetterling 50% to 42%, with Binkowski taking the remaining 8%. {For details, see Minnesota 6th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Minnesota|8|— Sixteen Term Incumbent Jim Oberstar (D) has had little trouble for re-election ever since he's won his first term. While the district hasn't had a Republican represent it since 1947, Oberstar faced a potential challenge from former Republican U.S. Senator Rod Grams and centrist/moderate candidate Harry Welty. Welty ran under the Unity party as an independent after being inspired by the Unity08 political movement. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic." Result: Oberstar won handily, capturing 64% of the vote. {For details, see Minnesota 8th congressional district election, 2006.)


Mississippi, like most other southern states, has seemingly shifted from being a Democratic stronghold to one of the Republican Party. However, Democrats occasionally win elections in this state every year. In the 2006 midterm elections, Mississippi returned all four of its incumbents (2 Republicans and 2 Democrats) to Washington. All incumbents won their seats with over 60% of the vote.


None of Missouri's nine incumbent members of Congress faced serious opposition.


In recent years, Montana has been known as a Republican-leaning state, re-electing George W. Bush by a wide margin in 2004. However, Democrats have been making gains in this state, and the popularity of Governor Brian Schweitzer, along with a tough re-election campaign for incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Conrad Burns, could have made things challenging for Montana's only Congressman.

* ushr|Montana|AL|– Incumbent Dennis Rehberg (R) won with 64% of the vote in 2004 and is generally popular, but was considered potentially vulnerable due to Montana having swung over to the Democratic Party at the state level in 2004, electing Brian Schweitzer as Governor as well handing control of the State Legislature over to the Democrats. Rehberg also had to contend with Burns' extremely tough re-election race. Rehberg's November opponent was respectably-funded state Representative Monica Lindeen. Libertarian Mike Fellows also qualified; he ran in 2004 and won 12,530 votes (3%)"CQPolitics rating: Safe Republican." Results: Rehberg defeated Lindeen, 59% to 39%.


Nebraska is known for being a staunchly Republican state. While the U.S. Senators in its congressional delegation have been known to lean to the center of their party (Chuck Hagel with the Republicans, Ben Nelson with the Democrats), its members of the House of Representatives have recently all come from the Republican Party. No Democrat has held a Nebraska congressional seat since 1993.

* ushr|Nebraska|1|— Republican incumbent Jeff Fortenberry won his first term in 2004 with 54% of the vote after the retirement of popular moderate Republican congressman Doug Bereuter, who was very critical of the religious right's growing influence on the party. Fortenberry is much more conservative than his predecessor, and won a by a fairly small margin in a district that previously sent Bereuter to Congress by margins of 60%–65% and reelected George W. Bush with 66% of the vote in 2004. A Green Party activist drew 3% of the vote in 2004, and Democrats mobilized in 2006 for another campaign. Democrat and former Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Maxine Moul faced Fortenberry in November. [ [http://www.swingstateproject.com/states/nebraska swingstateproject.com] ] Moul had been lieutenant governor during most of Nelson's first term as governor, and hoped for a coattail effect from Nelson's presence at the top of the ticket. In mid-August, "CQPolitics", noting that "recent finance reports show [that Moul had] closed the fundraising gap" changed their rating in this race from Safe Republican to "Republican Favored". [ [http://www.cqpolitics.com//2006/08/big_batch_of_rating_changes_re.html] ] Results: Fortenberry defeated Moul, 59% - 41%.

* ushr|Nebraska|3|— Republican incumbent Tom Osborne did not seek re-election, instead making a bid for the Nebraaka gubernatorial nomination. He lost in the Republican primary to Dave Heineman, who had become Governor in January 2006 after Governor Mike Johanns became the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The district, covering western Nebraska, is one of the most Republican districts in the nation. Nebraska legislator Adrian Smith, who is far more conservative than Osborne, won the Republican nomination; he faced Democratic nominee Scott Kleeb, a rancher, in November. Under normal circumstances, Smith would have been considered a shoo-in. However, his views on unfettered free trade and criticism of farm subsidies gave Kleeb an outside chance. "CQPolitics rating: Republican Favored." Results:: Smith defeated Kleeb, 55% to 45%. (For details, see Nebraska 3rd congressional district election, 2006.)


With the rapid growth of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, Nevada has become increasingly influential in American politics. The political divide between the northern and southern portions of the state, along with the presence of a prominent Democratic leader in Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, has resulted in Nevada's status a swing state. Clark County, which takes in the bulk of Nevada's population and includes Las Vegas, was the only county that went to John Kerry in 2004.

* ushr|Nevada|2|— Incumbent Jim Gibbons (R) ran for governor in this year, narrowly winning after a volatile race. In 2004 he was reelected with 67% of the vote. Current Secretary of State Dean Heller was the Republican nominee for the seat. The district encompasses the vast majority of rural Nevada; nearly 70% of its vote is cast in Washoe County, home to Reno. It has long been considered a safe Republican seat; before 2006, Democrats had made only one serious bid for the seat since its creation in 1983. Nevertheless, GOP party in-fighting seemed to give the Democrats a chance here. Democratic candidate Jill Derby of northern Nevada, who served on the University Board of Regents, ran unopposed, while Heller had to run in a bruising primary. Heller defeated conservative former State Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons — Jim Gibbons' wife — and current Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who was heavily supported by the Club for Growth, beating the latter by only 428 votes in the August primary. [http://www.secretaryofstate.biz/nvelection/2006StateWidePrimary/ElectionSummary.htm] . Citing irregularities, Angle filed a motion in court for a new election, an action supported by the state GOP chairman, which the court eventually rejected. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted October 26-27 showed Heller leading Derby 47% to 39% [http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2006/nov/02/110210243.html] . "Cook Political Report rating: Lean Republican. CQPolitics rating: Leans Republican." Results: Heller defeated Derby, 51% to 45%. (For details, see Nevada 2nd congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Nevada|3|— The district was created in 2002. Incumbent Jon Porter (R) won election that year against a scandal-plagued Democratic opponent, and was reelected in 2004 by comfortable margins. However, the district is almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, and Porter drew the ire of Senator Reid. Reid's former press secretary Tessa Hafen, backed by her ex-boss, challenged Porter in 2006. Hafen is a Mormon, and there was concern by Republicans that many Mormon voters would break party ranks for Hafen. The November ballot also included Libertarian Joseph P. Silvestri and Independent American Party candidate Joshua Hansen. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted October 26-27 showed Porter leading Hafen 46% to 39% [http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2006/nov/02/110210243.html] . Results: Porter narrowly defeated Hafen, 49% to 47%. (For details, see Nevada 3rd congressional district election, 2006.)

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the most conservative state in the Northeast, with a political tradition that has been likened to that of the Libertarian Party. Republicans held both Congressional seats and most state and local offices. On the other hand, New Hampshire gave its four electoral votes to John Kerry in 2004 and to Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Democratic Governor John Lynch, who defeated incumbent Republican Governor Craig Benson in 2004, is widely popular and routed his Republican opponent 2006. Democrats mounted strong challenges to Republican incumbents in both Congressional seats. The primary was on September 12, 2006.

*ushr|New Hampshire|1|— Republican incumbent Jeb Bradley was seeking a third term. Rochester Democratic chair Carol Shea-Porter won the Democratic primary against better funded and party-favored state House Democratic Leader Jim Craig, getting 54% of the vote to Craig's 34%. Bradley is a fiscal conservative who supports reduction in taxes and spending, but had broken with conservatives on other issues. Shea-Porter is a strong liberal who supports a Medicare for All program and increased federal funding for education. Unlike her opponent, she disagrees with President Bush on foreign policy issues and the War in Iraq. Although this was the one house district in New England Bush carried in 2004 and Bradley had won by wide margins in 2002 and 2004, the President was highly unpopular throughout New England, which gave Democrats an opening. A poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire between October 29 and November 1 showed Bradley leading 47% to 42% [http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/trk110206.pdf] . Results:: Shea-Porter won with 51% of the vote to 49% for Bradley, a win which was almost totally unexpected.

* ushr|New Hampshire|2|— Incumbent Charles Bass (R) won reelection in 2004 with 58% percent of the vote, even as his district was won by John Kerry 52% to 47%. Bass, a political moderate, easily defeated primary challenges from Berlin Mayor Bob Danderson and Mary Maxwell. The Democratic nominee, Paul Hodes, an attorney, was also the 2004 Democratic nominee. A Concord Monitor poll in September 2006 show Bass leading Hodes by 25 percent, but a poll in August 2006 from Anzalone-Lizst Research showed the two neck and neck. [http://www.politicsnh.com/?q=node/409] . In late September, a top Bass staffer resigned after news stories that a U.S. Government computer in Bass's Washington office had been used to post anonymous concern troll messages to NH blogs. In these messages, "IndyNH" claimed to be a supporter of Paul Hodes who was discouraged by Bass's unbeatable lead. Results: Hodes defeated Bass, 53% to 46%.

New Jersey

Highly touted as one of the most politically competitive states in America, New Jersey has often historically split between the Republican and Democratic parties, but has favored Democrats in recent elections. In fact, New Jersey is known to be one of the nation's most socially liberal states. However, Democrats have hit a snag in the Garden State. The recent state budget problem and Governor Jon Corzine's tax and budget proposals have not been well received. [http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x11376.xml?ReleaseID=907] Corzine, a former U.S. Senator, has negative approval ratings, including a -5% approval rating in the September 2006 SurveyUSA Governor's poll, [http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2006/50StateGovernor060921State.htm] which could prove beneficial to Republicans, including U.S. Senate candidate Tom Kean, Jr.. However, President Bush's approval rating in the state is very negative, getting a -29% approval rating in the October 2006 50 State President Approval poll. [http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2006/50StateBushApproval061017State.htm]

* ushr|New Jersey|3|Jim Saxton (R) won in 2004 with 63% of the vote in a district that George W. Bush carried by a 167,254 -159,041 plurality over John Kerry. In 2000, Democrats thought they had a tough opponent for Saxton in Cherry Hill (the district's largest community) Mayor Susan Bass Levin, who raised and spent substantially, but Saxton won by 58%. Despite that win, some Democrats think Saxton has never faced any strong competition. Some believe the district is trending Democratic, which could make his chances of re-election tougher. Republicans, however, were not as concerned, as Ocean County was carried handily by Bush and losing GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester. The district runs from the central shore of New Jersey through Burlington County and into the Philadelphia suburbs. The Democratic nominee was Rich Sexton, an attorney, a 20-year veteran and officer in the United States Navy, and a Fighting Dem. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Republican." Results:: Saxton won with 58% of the vote to 41% for Sexton.

* ushr|New Jersey|5|Scott Garrett (R) won in 2004 with 58% of the vote against an underfunded Anne Wolfe. His strongly conservative views were the subject of some controversy: for example, he was one of only a few Republicans to vote against the emergency aid to Hurricane Katrina victims, and he opposed renewing the Voting Rights Act. Democrat Paul Aronsohn challenged Garrett; with more support from the Democrats as well as several towns within the district won by Corzine in the governor's race, it was thought that this could be a pickup opportunity. This district gave George W. Bush a 184,530- 137,019 plurality over John Kerry in 2004 and the district was one of two New Jersey districts carried by Bob Dole in 1996 when he lost badly in the rest of the state. "CQPolitics rating: Republican Favored." Results: Garrett defeated Aronsohn, 55% to 44%. (For details, see New Jersey 5th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|New Jersey|7|— Mike Ferguson (R) won in 2004 with 57% of the vote against Stephen Brozak. His recent perceived opposition to the "morning after pill" [http://www.dumpmike.com/2006/03/all_we_want_is_an_up_or_down_v.html] was considered a possible factor in a district that is supportive of social moderates like Thomas Kean, Jr., the son of the popular former governor and the Republican challenger to Democratic Senate incumbent Bob Menendez. In 2000, Bush won the district voted by one percentage point; in 2004, he won with a much larger margin, 164,176 votes to 144,767 votes for John Kerry. Three-term State Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) challenged Ferguson in 2006. She received endorsements from a number of liberal groups and might have benefited from her active internet campaign. "Cook Political Report rating: Lean Republican. CQPolitics rating: Leans Republican." Results: Ferguson narrowly won, barely, edging Stender by 50% to 48%.

* ushr|New Jersey|13|— Incumbent Bob Menendez (D) was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor-elect Jon Corzine, leaving his House seat vacant. The district, situated between New York City and Newark and includes Bayonne, Jersey City, West New York, and Hoboken, is heavily Democratic and has a Latino majority. State Assembly Speaker Albio Sires easily won the Democratic primary and faced Republican community activist John Guarini in the general election. Ironically, Sires ran against Menendez' predecessor, Frank Guarini, in 1986 as a Republican (when the district was numbered as the 14th); John Guarini is Frank Guarini's second cousin. Sires said that he would be willing to consider drilling in the ANWR to help reduce oil and gasoline prices,Fact|date=February 2007 a somewhat distinctive position among Democrats. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic." "'Results: Sires defeated Guarini, 78% to 19%. (For details, see New Jersey 13th congressional district election, 2006.)

New Mexico

In presidential elections, New Mexico has traditionally been won by the winner of the presidency, including 2004 when George W. Bush narrowly won its five electoral votes with less than 50% of the vote. The Democratic upswing in New Mexico is mostly centered around the northern part of the state, including Albuquerque, where one incumbent Republican faced a strong challenge.

* ushr|New Mexico|1|— Incumbent Heather Wilson (R) has routinely managed difficult reelections since 1998, winning in 2004 by a 55% to 45% margin in this Albuquerque-based swing district. In 2006 she faced Democrat Patricia Madrid, New Mexico's Attorney General, who was barred from seeking a third term in that position. Madrid was a stronger and more recognized candidate than previous challengers to Wilson and was also well-funded. Both candidates went on the offense, with Madrid charging Wilson as a rubber stamp for the Bush administration and Wilson charging that Madrid had ignored corruption in state government. The district, centered in Albuquerque, is very competitive; it was narrowly won by Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. An October 8–10 Majority Watch poll had Madrid leading Wilson 52% to 44% [http://www.constituentdynamics.com/mw/2006/pdf/racesummary.pdf] . "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up. CQPolitics rating: No Clear Favorite." Results: For two weeks after the election, the narrow margin between the two candidates, less than .5%, prevented this race from being called. Finally on Nov. 21, Madrid conceded the election to Wilson, who was leading by a margin of only 875 votes. [ [http://www.abqtrib.com/news/2006/nov/21/madrid-concedes-race-congressional-district-1/ Nash, Kate (21 November 2006) "Madrid concedes victory to Wilson" "Albuquerque Tribune"] ]

New York

In federal elections, the Empire State has consistently handed its vote to Democratic candidates. Of New York's twenty-nine congressional districts, all but ten are centered around heavily liberal and Democratic New York City and its surrounding suburbs, including Long Island and Westchester County. In addition, Democrats were also predicting easy victories in the double digits for its gubernatorial candidate, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and Senator Hillary Clinton. In 2002, a reapportionment was conducted and was planned as what is described as "a bipartisan incumbent protection plan". Many of the Republican-held districts were won by George W. Bush in the 2000 election while he lost statewide by a 25% margin. The primary was held on September 12, 2006. On September 11, the "New York Times" reported that Democrats were becoming less optimistic they could win Republican held House seats in New York this year. However, this turned out not to be the case as three districts elected Democrats over their Republican challengers, two of them incumbents. Projections regarding the senate and gubernatorial races were correct: Clinton held on to her place in the Senate with her nearest competitor trailing by more than half, and Spitzer was elected governor.

* ushr|New York|3|— Incumbent Peter King (R) was elected for his sixth term by a healthy margin in 2004, 63% to 37%, but King is the only Republican congressman left on Long Island, where Republicans once were the majority party. Although King has broken with his party on a few key issues, he is potentially vulnerable in a district that is increasingly moderate to liberal. Nassau County Legislator Dave Mejias announced his candidacy on May 25 [http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/politics/ny-lidems254755798may25,0,2096172.story?coll=ny-lipolitics-headlines] and was King's strongest opponent in years. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had King leading Mejias 51% to 44% [http://constituentdynamics.com/mw/race-summary] . "CQPolitics rating: "Republican Favored"." Results: King was re-elected to another term in the House, garnering 56% of the vote.

* ushr|New York|11|— Incumbent Major Owens (D) retired after 12 terms. In 2004 Owens was reelected with a staggering 94% of the vote in this majority African-American district in the center of Brooklyn. The Democratic primary was won by New York City Councilwoman Yvette Clarke. Little-known Republican physician Steve Finger was also running for the open seat. "CQPolitics rating: "Safe Democratic"." Results: Yvette Clarke was a strong winner with 89% of the vote.

* ushr|New York|13|- Since easily winning a special election in 1997, Republican incumbent Vito Fossella had long been reelected without trouble in this district, based in Staten Island and the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. But in 2004, his share of the vote dropped dramatically against an underfunded opponent. Lawyer and Bay Ridge community leader Steve Harrison [http://www.harrison06.com] is the 2006 Democratic candidate. Fossella is the only Republican in New York City's Congressional delegation. "CQPolitics rating: "Safe Republican"." [cite web | url=http://www.cqpolitics.com/risk_rating_house.html#republicans | title=Balance of Power Scorecard: House | publisher=CQ Politics | accessdate=2006-08-31] Results: Fossella won with 57% of the vote. (For details, see New York 13th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|New York|19|- Incumbent Sue Kelly (R) had rarely faced stiff competition since her initial election in 1994, but she drew six Democratic challengers this year, two of whom dropped out before the primary. Former Ulster County Legislator John Hall, who was once a member of the popular rock band Orleans, won the Democratic nomination with 49% of the vote in a multi-candidate primary. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had Hall leading Kelly 49% to 47%. [http://constituentdynamics.com/mw/race-summary] Cook Political Report rating: "Leans Republican". CQPolitics rating: "Leans Republican"." Results: John Hall won with 51% of the vote.

* ushr|New York|20|— Incumbent John E. Sweeney (R) had never really had any election troubles up until now. Sweeney, however, had had issues over a remark he made about his Democratic opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand, saying that she was "a pretty face". This rural and suburban district is among the more Republican in the Northeast. Sweeney has a politically moderate stance. An October 15–16 Majority Watch poll had Gillibrand leading Sweeney 54% to 41% [http://www.constituentdynamics.com/mw/2006/pdf/racesummary.pdf] . A November 2 Siena poll had Gillibrand leading Sweeney 46% to 43% [http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--congress-20thdist1105nov05,0,2240978.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork] . Libertarian Eric Sundwall and Liberal Party candidate Morris Guller were also challenging Sweeney. "Cook Political Report rating: "Toss-up"." "CQPolitics rating: "No clear favorite"." Results: Gillibrand took over from Swenney with 53% of the vote. For details, see New York 20th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|New York|24|— Incumbent Sherwood Boehlert (R) announced his retirement after twenty-four years, making this a seat of considerable focus for the Democrats in the followup to the mid-terms. Boehlert is considered a moderate Republican, and the district is considered to be a swing district. George Bush won this district by 53% in the 2004 election, but by only 3,000 votes in the 2000 presidential election. The Republican nominee is moderate state Senator Ray Meier, while the Democratic nominee is Oneida County District Attorney Mike Arcuri. Both are locally popular and proven vote-getters and the race was a toss-up. "CQPolitics rating: "No Clear Favorite"." "Cook Political Report rating: "Republican Toss-Up"." Results: Swings to the Democrats, with Arcuri winning 54% of the vote.

* ushr|New York|25|— Incumbent James T. Walsh (R), ran unopposed in 2004 and while the Syracuse-based district hasn't had a Democrat represent it since 1971, John Kerry won the district in 2004 by 2.5%. Thus, Walsh had the unusual distinction of being the only Republican to win unopposed and not have George W. Bush win his district. Democrats were fielding former congressional aide Dan Maffei. An October 15–16 Majority Watch poll had Maffei leading Walsh 51% to 43% [http://www.constituentdynamics.com/mw/2006/pdf/racesummary.pdf] . "Cook Political Report rating: "Likely Republican"." Results: Walsh kept the district, winning with 51% of the vote. (For details, see New York 25th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|New York|26|— Incumbent Thomas M. Reynolds (R), the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman, faced a rematch with local industrialist and Marine Veteran Jack Davis. While the district leans substantially Republican, Reynolds was held to 55% of the vote in 2004 by political neophyte Davis, who had used the intervening time to build a political base. He campaigned against Reynolds' support of free trade, which he claimed had cost the district thousands of well-paying jobs. Reynolds is one of the Republican party's premiere fund-raisers, but Davis is independently wealthy, and vowed to spend up to $2 million on his campaign. Reynolds held a small lead in the polls until the Mark Foley scandal broke at the end of September. Reynolds had some knowledge of Foley's e-mails, and his chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, formerly Foley's chief of staff, was more directly involved. A November 3 SurveyUSA poll had Reynolds leading Davis 50% to 46% with 4% undecided. [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportEmail.aspx?g=9cc9edf9-41d3-4ffb-ba4b-7025dad45d0b] . In the space of just a week "CQPolitics" changed their rating from Safe Republican, to Leans Republican, and then again to "Leans Democratic"." Results: Reynolds won a close race with 51% of the vote.

* ushr|New York|29|— Freshman incumbent Randy Kuhl (R) was elected with 50% in a three-way race in 2004. He faced a potentially strong challenge from former U.S. Navy officer Eric Massa, a long-time friend of 2004 presidential candidate General Wesley Clark. Massa had been an extremely adept fundraiser and became a darling of the netroots with numerous favorable articles on popular progressive weblogs such as dailykos.com and mydd.com. In March, President Bush visited the district, in part as a boost to Kuhl's re-election campaign. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had Massa leading Kuhl 53% to 42%. [http://constituentdynamics.com/mw/race-summary] . "Cook Political Report rating: "Lean Republican". CQPolitics rating: "Leans Republican"." Results: Kuhl won with 52% of the vote. (For details, see New York 29th congressional district election, 2006.)

North Carolina

While North Carolina has become a largely Republican state in federal elections, Democrats often win state races and have a slight edge in both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly. In November, most incumbents were re-elected except for one Republican, Charles H. Taylor. [http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006//pages/results/states/NC/H/08/index.html]

* ushr|North Carolina|8|Robin Hayes (R) was elected for a fourth term in 2004 by a 56% to 44% vote. His opponent, Beth Troutman, was a production assistant on the TV show "The West Wing" with no prior experience in office and with only a tiny fraction of the funding Hayes had. The district consists of a large portion of southern North Carolina east of Charlotte. Democrats have made an issue of Hayes's vote in favor of CAFTA, which was seen as threatening to the area's textile industry. Hayes's vote came after his stating he was "flat-out, completely, horizontally opposed" to the bill and pressure by the Bush administration. During the past few election cycles, Hayes also received the second largest amount of money among all Congressional candidates from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. Hayes has refused to return the $47,000 he received from the former House Majority Leader's political action committee, despite calls from Democrats to do so. He faced Larry Kissell, a school teacher from Biscoe who ran a largely grassroots campaign. Result: The vote was a virtual dead heat, with Hayes leading by 327 votes in the final tally. Kissell conceded after recounts showed he would not win. (For details, see North Carolina 8th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|North Carolina|11|Charles H. Taylor (R) won with 55% in 2004, far behind George W. Bush in the area. His district consists of the North Carolina Panhandle around Asheville. He faced tougher competition from former professional quarterback Heath Shuler (D) in 2006. A July 10 poll by Public Policy Polling showed that Schuler led Taylor by 51% to 45% [http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/web_PPP_Survey_071106.pdf] . "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up. CQPolitics rating: No Clear Favorite." Result: Shuler defeated Taylor by 54% to 46%. [http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006//pages/results/states/NC/H/11/index.html]

North Dakota

North Dakota can be best be described as a split state. Republicans control both houses of the state Legislature, the presidential election has gone to the Republican candidate in every election since 1968, and Republican Governor John Hoeven is hugely popular. However, since 1986, the Democratic-NPL (North Dakota's Democratic Party affiliate) has won every federal House and Senate race. The incumbent Democrat won reelection by a wide margin.


In 2004, President George W. Bush narrowly won Ohio, which has recently become a major swing state in presidential elections. In 2006, the reputation of the state's Republican Party was severely damaged by the unparalleled unpopularity of outgoing Republican Governor Bob Taft, who had faced numerous corruption scandals in recent years, including the infamous Coingate scandal. Taft also became the first Ohio governor ever to be charged with a crime while in office, pleading no contest to four criminal misdeameanors resulting from his failure to disclose thousands of dollars in gifts, including lobbyist-endorsed golf outings. All of Ohio's congressional races will be impacted to some extent by this, including races that are not even considered close. Republican incumbent Ralph Regula, who has served for more than 30 years, and whose 16th District includes the Canton area, barely won his primary against a newcomer, for example.

* ushr|Ohio|1|— Incumbent Steve Chabot (R) was part of 1994's Republican Revolution, when he unseated an incumbent. He was challenged by Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley, who challenged him in 2000. The first district, which takes in most of Cincinnati, is marginal and has elected both Democrats and Republicans in the past. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had Cranley leading Chabot 48% to 46% with 7% undecided [http://constituentdynamics.com/mw/2006/pdf/round3/OH1_round3.pdf] . "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up." "CQPolitics rating: Leans Republican." Results: Chabot defeated Cranley, 52% to 48%.

* ushr|Ohio|2|— Incumbent Jean Schmidt (R) was elected by a 2005 special election to replace the seat vacated by Congressman Rob Portman. She narrowly defeated Democrat Paul Hackett in a strongly Republican district. Recent June 2006 polling conducted by Momentum Analysis shows Congresswoman Schmidt tied at 44% with Democratic challenger, physician Victoria Wulsin. The same poll also showed Wulsin leading Schmidt in Hamilton County, the largest county of the district, by a margin of 50% to 37%. Many stated that this polling was a surprise but could be the result of press coverage regarding Congresswoman Schmidt's November 2005 House floor remarks about Congressman John Murtha (D-PA). An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had Schmidt leading Wulsin 51% to 46% [http://constituentdynamics.com/mw/race-summary] . "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up. CQPolitics rating: Leans Republican." "Results:" After provisional ballots were added in which she actually gained votes, Schmidt was declared the winner. Wulsin conceded on November 27, leaving the incumbent the victor. (For details, see Ohio 2nd congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Ohio|3|- Incumbent Mike Turner (R) defeated challenger Richard Chema in an election marked by unusual events. On August 13, 2006, Democratic candidate Stephanie Studebaker — who was the party's nominee to run against the incumbent Republican — was arrested, alongside her husband, on charges of domestic violence. Two days later, she withdrew from the race, leaving the Ohio Democratic Party without a candidate in the district. Chema won a special primary election on September 15, 2006, to represent the Democrats, but lost to Turner in the general election. Results: Turner defeated Chema 58% to 42%.

* ushr|Ohio|4|— Incumbent Michael Oxley (R) retired after twenty-five years. The district is located in much of northwestern Ohio and is heavily Republican, having not elected a Democrat to represent the area since 1936. The district, however, has been trending Democratic. Oxley won a massive 81% of the vote in 1986, which declined to an average of 68% in the 1990s, then to 61% in 2000 and only 59% in 2004. Republican state Senator Jim Jordan won the primary comfortably and is the favorite in the general election against his poorly-financed Democratic opponent, Fighting Dem, veteran and local attorney Richard E. Siferd (D). "CQPolitics rating: Safe Republican." Results: Jordan defeated Siferd, 60% to 40%.

* ushr|Ohio|6|— Incumbent Ted Strickland (D) did not run for reelection; he was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Ohio (he won). The district, stretching across Ohio's eastern edge, from the Kentucky border to the Pennsylvania border, is highly competitive. Both parties' choices have been damaged by self-inflicted blunders. Republican state House Speaker Pro Tempore Chuck Blasdel failed to pay taxes on two defunct businesses he once owned, while Democratic state Senator Charlie Wilson failed to submit the 50 valid signatures for his ballot petition, and had to wage a costly write-in campaign to be his party's nominee. [ [http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060223/NEWS01/602230351/1056 enquirer.com] ] But Wilson made a major comeback when his write-in campaign earned him 67% of the vote in the primary. By contrast, Bladsel won with 49% in a three-way primary. Wilson was considered the front-runner going into the general election, though not a shoo-in, with a September 29 Survey USA poll showing Wilson leading Blasdel by a 13 percentage-point margin among likely voters. On October 11, AP reported that the GOP scaled back their expenditures in this race.cite news | title=House GOP Revamps TV Ad Campaign Plans | author=David Espo | publisher=AP | date=October 11, 2006 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/11/AR2006101101523.html] "Cook Political Report rating: Likely Democratic. CQPolitics rating: Democrat Favored." [cite news | url=http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/10/failure_results_in_fortune_for.html | title=Failure Results in Fortune for Democrat Wilson in Ohio 6 Race | author=Kathleen Hunter | date=October 10, 2006 | publisher=CQPolitics.com] Results: Wilson defeated Blasdel, 62% to 38%.

* ushr|Ohio|12|- Incumbent Republican Pat Tiberi was thought by many to face a tough race. The district contains suburbs of Columbus which are slowly trending Democratic. Tiberi faced former Congressman Bob Shamansky, who represented this district for one term (winning in 1980, losing to John Kasich in 1982). Shamansky contributed $1 million of his own money to his campaign. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Republican." Results: Tiberi defeated Shamansky, 58% to 42%.

* ushr|Ohio|13|— Incumbent Sherrod Brown (D) did not run for reelection; he was the Democratic nomineee against incumbent Republican Senator Mike DeWine (Brown won). The district, in the Lorain/Akron area, is heavily blue-collar and has a strong pro-labor Democratic tilt. However, Republicans appeared to have scored a recruiting coup with the candidacy of Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin, a popular figure in a city that gave George W. Bush only 27% of the vote. Normally, Democrats would have very little trouble holding this district, but Foltin's personal base in a Democratic stronghold gave Republicans a glimmer of hope. Former state Representative Betty Sutton was the Democratic nominee, winning a come-from behind victory in a rough multi-candidate primary, which included former Congressman Tom Sawyer. On October 11, AP reported that the GOP had scaled back their expenditures in this race. See details, see Ohio 13th congressional district election, 2006 "Cook Political Report rating: Likely Democratic. CQPolitics rating: Democratic Favored." Results: Sutton defeated Foltin, 61% to 39%. (For details, see Ohio 13th congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Ohio|15|— This district takes in much of Columbus, and Deborah Pryce (R), Chair of the Congressional Republican Conference, has been reelected without incident for over a decade. However, the high unpopularity of Governor Bob Taft and Pryce's close ties to the Republican leadership give Democrats a potential opening. She is being challenged by Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, one of her strongest opponents to date. Polls show Kilroy leading by up to 12 points. Results: After initial tabulation completed Nov 27, Pryce led by 1055 votes, which is within the auto-recount margin for Ohio.

* ushr|Ohio|18|Robert W. Ney (R), the incumbent since 1995, part of the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal, withdrew from the race in early August 2006, [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Congressman-Withdraws.html] before pleading guilty a month later to criminal charges. Zack Space, the law director of the city of Dover, was the surprise winner of the Democratic nomination. Ney's formal withdrawal on August 14 resulted in a special election to choose his replacement; Ohio state Senator Joy Padgett won with about 65% of the vote. Her candidacy was subsequently damaged by news reports about her business and personal bankruptcies. The district leans Republican, but not overwhelmingly so. A Zogby/Reuters poll conducted between Oct 24 and Oct 29 showed Space with a surprisingly large lead (53% to 33%) [http://elections.us.reuters.com/top/news/usnN31248778.html] . Later polls [http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/election_tags/oh_18] showed a Space with a lead closer to 10 percentage points. "Cook Political Report rating: Lean Democratic." "CQPolitics rating: Leans Democratic." Larry Sabato, right after Padgett's election, also rated this race as a toss-up. [ [http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/article.php?id=LJS2006091501 Angry Politics: "Voters Gone Wild" in 2006, Crystal Ball, U.Va ] ] Results: Space defeated Padgett, 62% to 38%.


Oklahoma has evolved into a prominent state for the Republican Party, where George W. Bush won every county in the state and nearly two-thirds of the vote in 2004. Still, Democrats still hold prominence in the Sooner State, and Oklahoma's governor, Brad Henry, is a Democrat.

* Oklahoma's 5th District — Incumbent Ernest Istook (R) left this seat to run for governor against incumbent Democrat Brad Henry. This district is urban, and the registration is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. It is the home district of Governor Henry, and includes the first openly gay State Representative in state history. A Republican has held the seat since 1976. It currently includes Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, and Seminole Counties in central Oklahoma, and is demographically dominated by Oklahoma City. The primary was on July 25, 2006; a GOP run-off election on August 22, 2006, between Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett was won by Fallin by a large margin. [http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2345116] The Democratic nominee is Oklahoma City physician Dr. David Hunter, who won the primary against the 2004 Democratic nominee Bert Smith, a veteran and Oklahoma City public school teacher. According to an October 31 SurveyUSA poll, Fallin lead Hunter by a significant margin, 59% to 37% [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportEmail.aspx?g=92b7ef9c-cf18-45f7-8404-276872343e70] . "CQPolitics rating: Safe Republican." Results: Fallin defeated Hunter, 60% to 37%.


Oregon is seen as a moderately Democratic state. However, Democrats had been losing momentum in this state in recent years. In 2004, while winning the state overall, John Kerry lost Clackamas County, one of the more populous counties in Oregon, which has traditionally voted Democratic.

* ushr|Oregon|5|— Through the past few elections, incumbent Darlene Hooley (D) had faced increasing competition for her seat since being elected to Congress in 1996. In 2004, she won with only 53% of the vote against a little-known Republican candidate, businessman Jim Zupancic. The district, which has a Republican voter registration advantage of eight thousand and voted for George W. Bush in 2004, indicated some uncertainty in Hooley's re-election bid in 2006. However, Republicans were not able to recruit a top-tier candidate, choosing Lake Oswego businessman Mike Erickson, the founder of AFMS Logistics Management Group, a leading transportation logistics organization. Erickson contributed nearly $1.3 million to his own campaign, matching the money raised by Hooley.cite news|title=Oregon's fifth congressional district: a red-hot race in blue Oregon? Hooley's hot seat|last=Reinhard|first=David|date=October 8, 2006|work=The Oregonian] Hooley also faced Pacific Green Party candidate Paul Aranas and Douglas Patterson of the Constitution Party. In the end, Hooley increased her margin of victory over a Republican contender for the first time since 2000, defeating Erickson 54%-42%, with both third party candidates receiving 1.53% of the vote.


The state of Pennsylvania has become a politically competitive state, having narrowly gone to John Kerry in 2004. Popular Democratic Governor Ed Rendell was involved in a highly-publicized contest with Republican Lynn Swann, a former Pittsburgh Steeler. Swann the Republican was handily defeated after a series of missteps — and being out-campaigned — following what was in the spring a virtually tied race with well-funded and politically savvy Rendell. Republicans in the Philadelphia suburbs, meanwhile, will be facing a strong challenge from Democrats who look to gain three congressional seats at the expense of the GOP. Democrats have also become targeted by Republicans in this state, especially John Murtha, whose criticism of the War in Iraq has landed him in the crosshairs of Republican strategists. According to the New York Times the NRCC spent large amounts of money in the suburbs of Philadelphia (PA-6, PA-7, and PA-8).

* ushr|Pennsylvania|4|Jason Altmire (D) upset incumbent Republican Melissa Hart in this suburban Pittsburgh district. Altmire's background was in health care policy and legislative relations; he was overseer of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Office of Charitable giving before leaving to run for office in June 2005. Hart had seemed untouchable only a few months before the election, and was still generally expected to win on Election Day. Hart blamed her defeat on Altmire's negative campaign ads, [ [http://kdka.com/topstories/local_story_312072258.html kdka.com - Altmire Pulls Off Upset Against Melissa Hart ] ] expressing her displeasure bluntly after her defeat: "I was not going to play the games. Unfortunately I think that took a toll. In retrospect, I had everyone in Washington, D.C., significant number of my colleagues, call me and say you need to cut his legs off, was the term they used,” Hart said. "And you know what, you don’t need to cut his legs off. He clearly did that his entire campaign, he’s new at this, I that hope he doesn’t do it the next time." [ [http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/011027.php Talking Points Memo | ] ] Results: Altmire defeated Hart, 52% to 48%.

* ushr|Pennsylvania|6|Jim Gerlach (R) won reelection by a 51% to 49% margin in 2004 in this competitive district in suburban Philadelphia. Lois Murphy, who lost in 2004, sought a rematch. The district was reportedly drawn for Gerlach by the Republican-controlled state legislature, but he didn't establish a secure footing. Democrats have criticized Gerlach for not returning $30,000 he has received for his campaigns from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's ARMPAC, which was involved in an alleged money laundering scheme; Gerlach has stated that he will give the money away if DeLay is convicted. In July, Gerlach opened his media campaign with a TV ad criticizing President Bush's immigration proposals. Murphy has matched Gerlach's fundraising but had about three-quarters of the cash on hand of the incumbent as of October 2. [ [http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.asp?id=PA06&cycle=2006 Total raised and spent, Pennsylvania District 6, 2006] , opensecrets.com] A Majority Watch poll on October 26, 2006, had the race Murphy at 51%, Gerlach at 46%. "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up." "CQPolitics rating: No Clear Favorite." Results: Gerlach defeated Murphy, 50.6% to 49.4%. For details, see Pennsylvania 6th congressional district election, 2006.

* ushr|Pennsylvania|7|Curt Weldon (R) won reelection with 59% of the vote in 2004, but represented a Democratic-trending district that incorporates much of Delaware County in suburban Philadelphia. He is facing retired Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak (D). On October 13, it was reported that Weldon and his daughter are being investigated by the FBI, and two days later the FBI raided his daughter's residence.cite news | title= Agents raid homes of Rep. Curt Weldon’s daughter, close friend | author=John Shiffman, Mitch Lipka and Patrick Kerkstra | publisher=Philadelphia Inquirer | date=October 16, 2006 | url=http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/15772927.htm] [Maryclaire Dale, [http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/103-10162006-727776.html "FBI raids home of Weldon's daughter, friend in influence probe"] , "Associated Press", October 16, 2006.] Between Sestak's fundraising abilities, [http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/10/navy_vet_sestak_coming_closer.html] and the investigation of Weldon and his daughter, "CQPolitics.com", in October, changed their rating on this race from "Leans Republican" to the more competitive "No Clear Favorite", and then again to "Leans Democratic". [cite news | url=http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/10/weldon_under_investigation_is.html | title=Weldon, Under Investigation, Is Now the Underdog in Pa. 7 | author=Greg Giroux | date=October 17, 2006|publisher=CQPolitics.com] On October 31 the AP reported that the NRCC cancelled ads attacking Sestak to shift funds to other races in the area (the 6th and 8th). [cite news | title= Ads for Weldon scaled back by GOP committee | author=Larry Eichel | publisher=Philadelphia Inquirer | date=November 1, 2006 | url=http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/states/pennsylvania/15897328.htm] For details, see Pennsylvania 7th congressional district election, 2006 "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up." Results: Sestak defeated Weldon, 56% to 44%.

* ushr|Pennsylvania|8|Mike Fitzpatrick (R) won in 2004, succeeding seven-term incumbent Jim Greenwood in this Bucks County-based district. In 2004 he defeated Democrat Virginia "Ginny" Schrader by a margin of 56% to 42%. Fitzpatrick's views, especially on abortion, are more conservative than those of most people in the Philadelphia suburbs, and that may be an issue for him in 2006. Iraq War Combat Veteran (82nd Airborne Division) Patrick Murphy won the Democratic primary in May and received more support from the national Democratic Party than Schrader did in 2004. Fitzpatrick led in most, but not all polls, in this close race. [ [http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2006/Info/house_polls.html Complete List of House Polls Used ] ] "Cook Political Report rating: Lean Republican." "CQPolitics rating: No Clear Favorite." Results: In the closest of Pennsylvania's House races, Murphy narrowly defeated Fitzpatrick, 50.3% to 49.7%.

* ushr|Pennsylvania|10|Don Sherwood (R) had strong backing as a result of redistricting in this heavy GOP district. The Democrats didn't even field a candidate to run against him in 2002 and 2004. But in 2005, details were made public regarding a five-year affair between Sherwood and Cynthia Ore, who sued Sherwood for $5.5 million alleging physical abuse. On November 8, 2005, the two settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Sherwood was expected to win the Republican primary easily over teacher Kathy Scott, as she had very little money or campaign staff, but she polled a surprising 44% of the vote against him. His Democratic opponent was professor and U.S. Naval Reserve officer Chris Carney. Carney led in the polls for most of the fall; an October 26 poll had him leading Sherwood 47% to 38% with 15% undecided. [ [http://www.politicspa.com/temp/lycoming_college.htm Lycoming College ] ] "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up." On November 1, "CQPolitcs" changed their rating from No Clear Favorite to Leans Democratic. [cite news | title=Iraq, Sherwood’s Scandal Give Democrat the Lead in Pa. 10 | author=Greg Giroux | date=October 31, 2006 | publisher=CQPolitics.com | url=http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/10/iraq_sherwoods_scandal_give_de.html] Results: Carney defeated Sherwood 53% to 47%. For details, see Pennsylvania 10th congressional district election, 2006.

* ushr|Pennsylvania|12|— Longtime incumbent John Murtha has long been reelected due to his moderate record and funding of local projects [http://www.house.gov/murtha/news/nw040623a.htm] . His high-profile opposition to the Iraq War and numerous appearances on national news networks generated opposition, however. Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey (R) claimed to have gotten money from all over the country. Commissioner Irey has stated that Murtha "defamed" American troops serving overseas with his accusations of U.S. Marines killing innocent civilians in Haditha [ [http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/05/18/murtha.marines/index.html CNN.com - Lawmaker says Marines killed Iraqis 'in cold blood' - May 19, 2006 ] ] during an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. [ [http://www.washtimes.com/national/20060802-015524-8104r.htm Washington Times - Marines said linked to Haditha slayings ] ] Unlike the suburban Philadelphia districts, Governor Ed Rendell is not particularly popular in rural western Pennsylvania, much of which he lost in 2002. Murtha got an unexpected hit when he was listed as one of five congressmen to watch in CREW's 20 Most Corrupt Congressmen (and five to watch). In 2004, however, Murtha won with a large 66% of the vote, and appears to have benefited from Democratic victories in the governor's and senate races in November. "Cook Political Report rating: Safe Democratic. CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic." Results: Murtha defeated Irey, 61% to 39%.

Rhode Island

The smallest state in the nation went to John Kerry by a double-digit margin in 2004. Democrats also control — and dominate — both houses of the Rhode Island General Assembly. Pro-life paraplegic Jim Langevin, faced a hard primary challenge in his re-election bid for Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district, but went on to defeat the liberal challenger, pro-choice advocate Jennifer Lawless.

South Carolina

South Carolina has been trending towards the Republican Party in recent elections, making re-election increasingly difficult for a Democratic veteran of Congress.

* ushr|South Carolina|5|John Spratt (D) is a twelve-term Democrat in an increasingly Republican district. George W. Bush increased the percent of the vote he received in 2004 in the district to 57%, compared to from 55% in 2004, and Spratt in the past is known to have felt the heat of some very close races (52% in 1994, 56% in 1996). However, of late, he has only faced marginal Republican opposition. In 2006 he faced popular conservative state Representative Ralph Norman. This race had looked to be a place where the GOP could pick up a seat, but, shortly after the Mark Foley scandal broke, the "Associated Press" reported that the GOP scaled back their expenditures in this race. "Cook Political Report rating: Likely Democratic. CQPolitics rating: Democratic Favored." Results: Spratt defeated Norman, 57% to 43%.

South Dakota

South Dakota's political climate has been dominated by the Republican Party for decades. Nevertheless, the incumbent at large Democrat, Stephanie Herseth was reelected by a wide margin.


Tennessee is often regarded as a conservative state equally shared by Republicans and Democrats, the latter of which has a slight majority and minority in the Tennessee House and Senate chambers, respectively. None of the congressional races in the state were seriously contested, and the two open seats were in districts that strongly matched their party.

* ushr|Tennessee|1|— Incumbent William L. Jenkins (R) retired after five terms in office. The district, located in East Tennessee, is considered to be a very safe Republican seat; George W. Bush won 68% of the vote in 2004 and it has been held by a Republican since the 1880s. Conservative state Representative David Davis of Johnson City, who ran in 1996 and lost to Jenkins in a crowded, multi-candidate primary, very narrowly edged Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable in another primary under the same circumstances. The general election was never in doubt. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Republican." Results: Davis won with 61% of the vote.

* ushr|Tennessee|9|— Incumbent Harold Ford, Jr. (D) vacated his seat to run for the open Senate seat held by retiring Republican Bill Frist (he lost). Based in the heavily African-American Democratic stronghold of Memphis, this district is one of the most Democratic districts in the nation. It has elected only African-Americans since 1974. The Democratic nominee was state Senator Steve Cohen, a white Jewish liberal who won a fifteen-candidate primary with 31% of the vote despite being dramatically outspent. He faced Republican Mark White and independent Jake Ford (the incumbent's younger brother) in the general election in November. Cohen was heavily favored to win the general election, but Jake Ford was seen as a wild card given his family's history in the area. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic." Results: Cohen defeated White, 60% to 18%; Jake Ford finished second with 22%.


Once a Democratic stronghold, Texas recently became known as a rock-ribbed Republican state dominated by social and fiscal conservatism regardless of party affiliation (Democratic strongholds are generally in the urban areas of the state along with the mainly rural Rio Grande Valley). The 2006 election season gained a level of attention as big as the state itself. A five-way Governor's race has ensued involving incumbent Republican Rick Perry, Democratic ex-Congressman Chris Bell, Libertarian sales consultant James Werner, and two high-profile independents, state controller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and country music singer Kinky Friedman. Perry won with 39% of the vote, while Bell got 30%, Strayhorn 18%, and Kinky 13%. Popular U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison cruised to another term in the Senate. The influence of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Texas politics also resulted in a hotly-contested race in his district that ended up in court, where Democrats prevented Republicans from replacing the ex-congressman on the November ballot, leaving Republicans to rely on a write-in candidate. Meanwhile, a 2003 Texas redistricting plan orchestrated by DeLay ended up leaving a large South Texas district with what a 5-4 Supreme Court decision deemed an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, putting the political future of that district's incumbent Republican, Henry Bonilla, in jeopardy, and re-drawing four neighboring districts in the process. Because of the judicially mandated redistricting of the 15th, 21st, 23rd, 25th and 28th districts, these districts had open primaries on November 7. A candidate receiving over 50% would win their district outright, otherwise the top 2 candidates have a runoff in December.

* ushr|Texas|15|— Incumbent Rubén Hinojosa (D) was reelected in 2004 with 58% of the vote. Hinojosa's district was recently affected by a court ruling that declared the 23rd District unconstitutional. Due to the size of the 23rd, the 15th was one of five districts that had to be redrawn. In 2006, Hinojosa was faced Republican attorney and pro-life activist Paul Haring, who previously served as a Texas State Representative, along with a second Republican, Eddie Zamora, who filed to run in the special election to fill the redrawn district. Before the controversial 2003 redistricting, Hinojosa won his district unopposed in 2002. However, in 2004, Hinojosa won nearly 70% of Hidalgo County and over 86% of Brooks County, while losing several rural northern counties, including Bastrop, Colorado, Fayette, and Lavaca counties. The new 15th includes none of these aforementioned northern rural counties and instead includes several South Texas counties that Hinojosa represented from 1997 to 2005, when they were redrawn into fellow Democrat Lloyd Doggett's district. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic." Results: Hinojosa defeated Haring, 60% to 29%.

* ushr|Texas|17|— Incumbent Chet Edwards (D) won reelection by a 51% to 48% margin in 2004 after the 2003 Texas redistricting dramatically altered his Central Texas district and made it more Republican. In particular, Edwards absorbed some heavily Republican areas near Fort Worth. He won despite the fact that Bush won the district by a whopping 40% margin. His district includes Waco and Crawford, the location of George W. Bush's ranch. In 2004, Edwards was helped by the fact that his opponent, then-state Representative Arlene Wohlgemuth, was nominated only after a nasty, expensive primary. In 2006, he was challenged by Van Taylor, an Iraq War veteran from a rich local family. "Cook Political Report rating: Lean Democratic." Results: Edwards defeated Taylor, 58% to 40%.

* ushr|Texas|21|— Incumbent Lamar S. Smith (R) is best known for his reportedly lavish style of living, ties to Karl Rove, support for government surveillance, and for [http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Immigration_memo_intended_for_Rove_arrives_on_Demo_0919.html] saying] "Liberals can easily and accurately be painted as opposing enforcement." In the 2006 election Smith faced Veteran and college administrator John Courage (D). Smith has previously had no problem holding this seat since the 1980s, though. The district was left largely unaffected by a recent court ruling that declared the nearby 23rd District unconstitutional as the August 4 federal court remap left this district largely intact. However, five more candidates appeared on the ballot to face Smith and Courage, including perennial Democratic candidate Gene Kelly, Libertarian James Strohm, Independents Tommy Calvert, James Peterson, and Mark Rossano. In this special election, a majority was required in November to avoid a runoff between the top two contenders. The realigned district now extends from San Antonio into the Texas Hill Country. While the "CQPolitics rating was Safe Republican," a poll commissioned by the John Courage campaign showed Smith falling short of the 50% needed to avoid the run-off. [ [http://www.burntorangereport.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2168 Burnt Orange Report::: TX-21 Poll: Smith (R) Under 50%, Runoff Now Possible ] ] Results: Smith defeated Courage, 60% to 24%.

* ushr|Texas|22|— Incumbent former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) won the primary, then retired, leaving his seat vacant, and dropped out of the re-election race. These events followed a number of corruption charges that made DeLay the focus of a September 28, 2005, indictment by a grand jury in Travis County (which includes Austin) over his campaign finances related to Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) and another political action committee, ARMPAC. In 2004, DeLay won only 55% of the vote against a relatively unknown Democrat, environmental lawyer Richard Morrison, even though George W. Bush carried the suburban Houston district with 64% of the vote. On March 7, 2006, DeLay won a four-way Republican primary for his district with 62% of the vote, but announced one month later he was dropping out of the race and resigning from his seat, which he did on June 9, 2006. A special election was not held until November, to fill DeLay's term until January 2007, simultaneously with the regular general election.

:Because Texas law generally prohibits replacement of a party nominee who withdraws but permits replacement of one who is ineligible, Delay announced that he was moving to Virginia to make himself ineligible for reelection. Republican leaders in Fort Bend, Brazoria, Harris, and Galveston Counties decided to select a new Republican nominee, but their plans were blocked by a federal judge who ruled on July 5, 2006, that the GOP could not select a replacement to fill DeLay's spot on the ballot — if he withdrew, there would be no Republican Party nominee. The Fifth Circuit upheld the lower court ruling, and an appeal was turned back by the U.S. Supreme Court in early August, leaving DeLay still on the November ballot. On August 8, DeLay announced that he was withdrawing from the race and taking his name off the ballot. Houston City Councilwoman and physician Shelley Sekula-Gibbs was chosen by a majority of GOP precinct chairs in the 22nd District as the write-in candidate supported by Republican leaders. She was also on the special election ballot. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6001553,00.html] However, more than one candidate entered the race and write-in candidates have rarely won elections historically.

:The Democratic candidate was former Congressman Nick Lampson, who represented a district that included much of the eastern portion of the present 22nd District until a redistricting plan engineered by DeLay led to Lampson's defeat (by Republican felony trial judge Ted Poe) in 2004. Bob Smither, whose daughter's kidnapping and murder in 1997 led to Lampson's creation of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, was the Libertarian nominee. Promising to vote for a Republican Speaker of the House if elected, Smither said that "a vote for liberal Democrat Nick Lampson will be a vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House."

:The district is dominated by Houston's heavily Republican western and southern suburbs, stretching from Sugar Land and Missouri City in the west and traveling eastward to portions of Pearland and Pasadena, all the way to the NASA Johnson Space Center, Clear Lake City, and Ellington Field. A recent poll indicates that 52 percent of district residents are Republicans. [http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA103006.01B.22ndDistrictRace.35296db.html "Write-in for DeLay spot has a shot" by Kristen Mack, Houston Chronicle, October 30, 2006] ] The district has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of 15 in favor of the Republicans. "Cook Political Report rating: Toss-up." "CQPolitics rating: Leans Democratic." An October 30 Zogby poll showed a close race. Results: Lampson defeated Sekula-Gibbs, 52% to 42%. (Sekula-Gibbs did win the special election to fill DeLay's seat for the remainder of his term, which is less than two months.) (For details, see Texas 22nd congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Texas|23|— In 2004, incumbent Henry Bonilla (R) received nearly 70% of the vote. However, his district, which includes several heavily Republican suburbs of San Antonio, as well as Big Bend National Park and much of Texas' border with Mexico, had to be changed after a mid-2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the redistricting efforts of the Texas Legislature violated Voting Rights Act protection of minorities — most of heavily Democratic and Latino Laredo was in the 23rd District until the redistricting. On August 4, a federal court redrew the district and removed the portion of Webb County that was in the district, eliminating the possibility of a rematch with Cuellar, and added a heavily Democratic portion of San Antonio, the home base of liberal former congressman Ciro Rodriguez. Rodriguez ran against Bonilla in the all-candidate primary on November 7. [http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/08/rodriguez_to_mount_comeback_bi.html] . The winner of the now somewhat irrelevant Democratic primary, Vietnam War Combat Veteran Rick Bolanos, also ran in the November 7 election. The realigned district is less Republican than the previous version, but Bonilla was still favored against the crowded field of six Democrats, including Rodriguez and Bolanos, and one Independent candidate. A majority was required in this special election to avoid a runoff between the top two contenders. "CQPolitics rating: Republican Favored." "Cook Political Report rating: Lean Republican." Bonilla won the November 7 election with 49% of the vote, failed to get the needed 50% of the vote to avoid the runoff. In that runoff, he faced Rodriguez, who got 20% of the special election vote. Bonilla was seen as being the favorite. But he ignored Rodriguez until the final days, then ran TV ads portraying him as politically aligned with some Islamic terror supporters, which backfired. Results: Rodriguez overtook Bonilla to win the December runoff, 54% to 46%. [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/4398329.html]

* ushr|Texas|25|— In 2004, Democratic incumbent Lloyd Doggett won by a 2-to-1 margin. Doggett's district was one of five districts realigned as a result of a recent ruling that declared the 23rd District unconstitutional. The redrawn districts have resulted in this district becoming an exclusively Austin-based district, with the addition of over 150,000 residents of Democratic-leaning Travis County to Doggett's district. The new district closely resembles the area Doggett represented from 1995 until 2005, when the Delay-engineered redistricting split Austin among three districts. The counties of Bastrop, Colorado, Fayette and Lavaca, all of which previously belonged to fellow Democrat Rubén Hinojosa, are now included in the district and are all heavily Republican, which could have made for a slight challenge for Doggett. The initial Libertarian nominee, Grant Rostig, was be on the ballot as a Republican, along with a Libertarian candidate and an Independent candidate. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic." Results: Doggett defeated Rostig, 67% to 26%.

* ushr|Texas|28|— In 2004, incumbent Henry Cuellar (D) won 59% of the vote. In 2006, he won 52% of vote in the Democratic primary that included a strong challenge from rival Democrat Ciro Rodriguez, a result of Cuellar's closeness to President Bush, along with an endorsement from the conservative Club for Growth, and residual resentment from Cuellar's unseating of Rodriguez in the 2004 Democratic primary. Cuellar might have faced another serious challenge in November, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling that declared the adjacent 23rd District unconstitutional. That court ruling resulted in a re-drawing of the 23rd district and surrounding ones, a redrawing that could have pushed Cuellar's hometown of Laredo into the 23rd District, forcing a rematch with incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla, who in 2002 defeated Cuellar by two percentage points. However, the August 4 federal court remapping of districts drew all of Laredo into the 28th. Combined with the district's share of San Antonio, this left Cuellar with a safe seat and no risk of a rematch with his 2002 or 2004 opponents. In the November special (all-party) election, Cuellar faced a fellow Democrat and a member of the Constitution Party, which ordinarily does not have ballot access in Texas. "CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic." Results: Cuellar won with 68% of the vote, avoiding a runoff.


Utah is one of the most prominently Republican states in the nation, largely based on the influence of its majority Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint's population. Given these factors, Republicans targeted Utah's only Democratic congressman in every previous election. All incumbents in Utah won reelection easily.


Known for its largely independent and libertarian style of politics (in 2004, Vermont voted overwhelmingly for Kerry on the national stage, while simultaneously re-electing popular Republican governor Jim Douglas by an even wider margin.), Vermont has been known in recent years for fielding the only two members of the United States Congress, one in the House and the other in the Senate, with no political affiliation. One of these, Senator Jim Jeffords, retired at the end of the 109th Congress, citing health concerns and desire to spend time with his family. Vermont's at-large representative, Bernie Sanders, was the clear favorite to win Jeffords' Senate seat, leaving his House seat up for grabs.

* ushr|Vermont|AL| — Incumbent Bernie Sanders (I), a democratic socialist who represents the entire state of Vermont, ran for the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jim Jeffords. Vermont state Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Welch (D-Windsor County), the Democratic nominee, faced former Vermont Adjutant General Martha Rainville, Major General, USANG (ret.), the Republican nominee. Welch was helped when state Representative David Zuckerman decided not to wage a third-party campaign. Keith Stern, a businessman and zoning board member from Springfield, ran as an Independent; Jane Newton, a retired nurse, ran on the socialist Liberty Union line; and Jerry Trudell [http://www.vote-usa.org/Intro.aspx?Id=VTTrudellJerry] ran as an Independent. According to an October 26 "Research 2000" report, Welch led Rainville 51% to 41% with 6% undecided [http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061027/NEWS/610270357/1003/NEWS02] . "Cook Political Report rating: Lean Democratic." Result: Welch defeated Rainville, 53% to 45%.


Virginia has supported a Democrat for president only once since 1948. However, in recent years, Democrats have made gains within the Commonwealth, gaining seats in the Virginia General Assembly. Democrats have won the last two gubernatorial elections, and are gaining voters in the burgeoning northern region of the state, which has started to make re-election for Republicans in this state, especially in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., a difficult task.

* ushr|Virginia|2|— In 2004, after representative Ed Schrock withdrew from seeking a third term, then-state Delegate Thelma Drake (R) replaced him on the Republican ballot. Drake won 55% to 45% against attorney and Marine Corps reservist David Ashe. In 2006, Virginia Beach Commissioner of the Revenue Phillip Kellam was the Democratic nominee. Kellam is arguably Virginia Beach's most popular Democrat, and the race was considered competitive. Kellam's support from controversial TV ads aired by Moveon.org were met by editorial criticism from local newspapers, however. [ [http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=104136&ran=219394 Moveon missteps on Drake attack ad | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com ] ] Kellam also has had to deal with an old assault convction being reported in local media. [ [http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=111900&ran=128609 Kellam offers apology for 1978 assault case | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com ] ] An October 24 Mason-Dixon poll had Drake leading Kellam 46% to 44% with 10% undecided. [http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=113290&ran=240025] . "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up. CQPolitics rating: Leans Republican." Results: Drake defeated Kellam 51% to 49%. (For details see Virginia 2nd congressional district election, 2006.)

* ushr|Virginia|10|— Incumbent Frank Wolf (R) was expected to be easily re-elected in this Northern Virginia district, but an October 10 poll by R.T. Strategies showed the Democratic nominee, Judy Feder, to be within five percentage points of Wolf, at 42% to Wolf's 47%. [cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/13/AR2006101301510.html | title=Wolf vs. Feder Becomes Race to Watch | publisher=The Washington Post | date=October 14, 2006 | page=B06 | author=Amy Gardner] "CQPolitics rating: Republican Favored." Results: Wolf defeated Feder, 57% to 41%.


Washington has historically been known as a Democratic stronghold, largely in part because of the more liberal-leaning western, coastal portions of the state as opposed to the largely conservative eastern and central portions. In 2006, Democrats looked to make a major gain by unseating a one-time law enforcement figure in the Seattle area, Dave Reichert, best known for his pursuit of the infamous "Green River Killer".

* ushr|Washington|2|— Incumbent Rick Larsen (D) was reelected in 2004 with nearly two-thirds of the vote. Larsen is a centrist New Democrat whose seats on the Armed Services and Transportation & Infrastructure committees are crucial to defense- and aerospace-related jobs that comprise a large number of his constituents in this politically competitive district. The Republicans have courted a credible challenger in Operation Desert Storm veteran Doug Roulstone, the commanding officer on the aircraft carrier U.S. John C. Stennis during the war. The GOP hoped his background will prove beneficial in the district, which is home to the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and the Naval Station Everett. "Cook Political Report rating: Likely Democratic." Result: Larsen won.

* ushr|Washington|5|— This district is the far eastern part of the state, running from the Canadian border in the north to the Oregon border in the south. It includes the city of Spokane. The one-term incumbent, Cathy McMorris (R), faced rancher Dr. Peter J. Goldmark (D), a former Chairman of the Board of Washington State University and former Director of the state Department of Agriculture, who also has a Ph.D. in molecular biology from U.C. Berkeley. McMorris had a 44% approval rating (the same as the President's) in this conservative district. The fifth district was held by a Democrat from 1965 until 1995, when Speaker Tom Foley was defeated by George Nethercutt in the Republican Revolution of 1994. In late August, "CQPolitics" changed its rating from: Safe Republican to the more competitive Republican Favored. [http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/08/democrat_is_a_credible_threat.html] "Cook Political Rating: Safe Republican." Result: McMorris won.

* ushr|Washington|8|— This district is at the eastern edge of the Seattle metropolitan area and includes the city of Bellevue. Incumbent Dave Reichert (R) won it 52% to 46% in 2004, but John Kerry carried the district by 51% to 48% over George W Bush. Former Microsoft product management employee Darcy Burner (D) challenged the incumbent in 2006 and was very well-funded. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had Burner leading Reichert 49% to 47% [http://constituentdynamics.com/mw/race-summary] . However, an October 30 SurveyUSA had Reichert leading Burner 51% to 45% [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportEmail.aspx?g=2c9a3ec6-8df0-48bb-b8d4-e35eabb35ad5] . Rep. Reichert accepted $20,000 from ARMPAC. It turned out to be the closest House race in Washington state, but Reichert survived by 51% to 49%.

West Virginia

Although a traditionally Democratic state with a reputation for having a strong union membership as well as a popular Governor in Joe Manchin, George W. Bush won West Virginia in 2000 and 2004.

* ushr|West Virginia|2|— Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R) had been a popular vote-getter in this Charleston-based district, but in traditionally Democratic West Virginia, a Republican can't take reelection for granted. In fact, her margin in 2004 slipped somewhat against a second-tier opponent. Some thought that Capito faced a backlash from conservative voters in the district because she is pro-choice and was supported very strongly by The Wish List, a group of pro-choice Republican women. In 2006 she faced attorney Mike Callaghan, a former state Democratic Party Chairman. Results: Capito defeated Callaghan, 57% to 43%. (For details, see West Virginia 2nd congressional district election, 2006.)


Generally regarded as a swing state, Wisconsin's Republicans and Democrats have altered places at the top over the years, the latter party of which has had moderately more success. In 2004, John Kerry narrowly won this state, which has two notable Democratic Senators in Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl. A Republican Congressman from the northeastern portion of the state is pursuing the Governor's office against Democratic incumbent Jim Doyle, leaving his open seat up for grabs in this year's election.
* ushr|Wisconsin|8|— Incumbent Mark Green (R) — Green ran for governor, and his seat, in northeastern Wisconsin, was Republican-leaning, although it had elected a Democratic congressman as recently as 1996 and is centered around the cities of Green Bay and Appleton. State Assembly Speaker John Gard won the September 12 Republican primary as expected, in which he faced state Assemblywoman Terri McCormick. The Democratic nominee, wealthy allergist Steve Kagen, defeated business consultant Jamie Wall and former De Pere Mayor and Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum after a very competitive primary. Democrats though that the race in some ways resembled the 1996 House election in the District, which they won when the Republicans were divided. "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up. CQ Politics Rating: No Clear Favorite." Results: Kagen won the open seat, defeating Gard, 51% to 49%. (For details, see Wisconsin 8th congressional district election, 2006.)


Wyoming is generally regarded as one of the most Republican states in the country, even though Democrats have had success at the state level, most notably in the gubernatorial election, a factor that could play out with its only congresswoman having received a smaller share of the vote than George W. Bush did in 2004.

* ushr|Wyoming|AL|Barbara Cubin (R) is running for reelection. Wyoming, generally considered one of the strongest, if not the strongest, Republican stronghold in the country, gave her a surprisingly small margin of victory in 2004 with 55% of the vote, despite George W. Bush winning Wyoming by a landslide 69% in the 2004 Presidential Election. She also had a difficult primary that year. More recently, Cubin was roundly criticized when, after a debate, she shouted at the Libertarian nominee Thomas Rankin, "I ought to slap you!" Rankin uses a wheelchair because he suffers from multiple sclerosis and is paraplegic. Her Democratic opponent this year was Teton County School Board Chairman Gary Trauner. An October 25 Aspen Media & Market Research poll has Cubin leading Trauner 44% to 40% [http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/politics/elections/15880955.htm] . "Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss Up." In mid-August, "CQPolitics" changed their rating of this race from "Republican Favored" to the more competitive Leans Republican. [http://www.cqpolitics.com//2006/08/big_batch_of_rating_changes_re.html] On November 2, "CQ Politics" changed their rating from Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite. [http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/11/wyoming_voters_may_be_turning.html] On 8 Nov., a preliminary vote count suggests that Cubin may have escaped triggering an automatic recount due to having a lead just 39 votes over half a percentage point. [ [http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2006/11/08/news/top_story/e26325e636e1d85f87257220006763b4.txt Casper Star-Tribune Online - Top Story ] ]


ee also

*United States general elections, 2006
*United States gubernatorial elections, 2006
*United States House of Representatives elections, 2006
*United States Senate elections, 2006

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