Polls Close in States With Top-Flight Senate Races

Posted November 4, 2008 at 6:12pm

Polls in Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia were scheduled to close at 7 p.m. local time on Tuesday night, as voters cast their final ballots for the presidential race and in three top-tier Senate races. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is being challenged by wealthy businessman Bruce Lunsford (D), while former Old Dominion Gov. Mark Warner (D) is expected to easily best his predecessor, Jim Gilmore (R), in an open-seat match-up.

Former Georgia state Rep. Jim Martin (D) is challenging Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) in a match-up that is expected to go down to the wire — and possibly even to a runoff on Dec. 2.

North Carolina’s polls are set to close at 7:30 p.m., although election officials could work well into the night tallying to total in what is expected to be a close race between Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) and state Sen. Kay Hagan (D).

Polls are open until 8 p.m. in New Hampshire, where polls have shown Sen. John Sununu (R) trailing former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D), and in Mississippi, where Rep. Roger Wicker (R) is slightly favored against former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) in a special election.

Election officials in Colorado, Minnesota and New Mexico are set to close the polls an hour later. In the Centennial State, Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is facing former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) in an open seat Senate race, while Reps. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) are squaring off in the Land of Enchantment Senate contest.

And in what could be the nail-biter of the cycle, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) is up against comedian Al Franken (D) in the Gopher State, where polls also close at 9 p.m. EST. Former Sen. Dean Barkley (I) is a major factor in that race.

In Oregon, where Sen. Gordon Smith (R) is being challenged by state House Speaker Jeff Merkley (D), polls will close at 11 p.m. Eastern time. And in Alaska, voters have until 1 a.m. to cast their ballots in the race between Sen. Ted Stevens (R) and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D).