Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine greets President Barack Obama on Saturday at a grass-roots rally at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow. Virginia isn’t the largest swing state, but it is a microcosm of the country.
The Centennial State already had a fundamental effect on the election after the first presidential debate in Denver reframed the election and boosted Romney’s chances. But Colorado (nine electoral votes) remains a critical swing state. Republicans have been very bullish on their chances here in the final weeks leading up to Election Day, and the state is a must-win for Romney if he loses Ohio earlier in the evening. Three competitive Congressional seats could reveal what kind of night Democrats are having on the House side. The redrawn, Aurora-based 6th district should be a prime takeover opportunity, but Rep. Mike Coffman (R) has a very narrow edge over attorney Joe Miklosi (D). Democrats tout Sal Pace’s challenge to Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in the Western Slope’s 3rd district, but that race looks to be slipping out of range. In addition, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) is trying to fend off a significant challenge from Republican Joe Coors. At one point, Democrats thought of netting three seats in Colorado, including defeating Rep. Cory Gardner (R), but in a worst-case scenario, they could lose another seat.
While part of the Empire State is reeling from Hurricane Sandy, New York is host to one of the largest batches of competitive Congressional races anywhere in the country. At one point, House Democrats were targeting the state for huge gains, but now reality is setting in. Former Rep. Dan Maffei(D) has a good chance of returning to Congress by defeating Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) in the 24th district. But Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) is extremely vulnerable and could lose to former Erie County Executive Chris Collins (R). So if Maffei wins and Hochul loses, Democrats have only exchanged seats. Democrats have a few other targets including Reps. Michael Grimm, Nan Hayworth and Chris Gibson, but each Republican looked to have the edge before today. And Democrats still have other vulnerabilities including Reps. Tim Bishop, Bill Owensand Louise Slaughter. Democrats need a net gain of at least three seats, but a net loss isn’t out of the question.
The Romney campaign is eyeing the Badger State as a key entry point into penetrating Obama’s Midwest firewall. Even before Rep. Paul Ryan (R) was added to the ticket, Wisconsin was likely to be a swing state because before 2004, it was one of the closest presidential states in the country. Ohio gets all the attention and Wisconsin is just 10 electoral votes, but the state is likely to be a decisive factor in who wins the White House. The open-seat Senate race between former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) has been one of the closest in the country, and the winner could foretell which party controls the Senate next year. On the House side, the lack of competitive races is part of Democrats’ problems nationwide. But if Rep. Sean Duffy (R) loses re-election, Democrats are having a better-than-expected night.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.