Come election day, there will be some races to watch aside from the presidential contest and the races here in Arizona; here are some of the races that I'll be keeping an eye on come Election Day -
- MA-Sen: Few individual Senate races have been higher profile this year than the one where Elizabeth Warren is attempting to oust Scott Brown from the seat previously held by Ted Kennedy. This one has been neck-and-neck (and more than occasionally ugly) throughout most of the cycle, but recent polls show Warren opening up a small lead. Warren is a staunch consumer advocate and a Democrat; Brown is a darling of Wall Street and a Republican. Massachusetts is a heavily Democratic state. I predict that Warren will win, if only because she isn't mailing it in the way Martha Coakley (and the Massachusetts Democratic Party) did during the special election to fill the seat that was vacated when Kennedy passed away.
- WI-Sen: The race Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D) and former governor Tommy Thompson (R) has seen its share of ups and downs; current polls show Thompson leading by a single percentage point.
- MO-Sen: Claire McCaskill, the Democratic incumbent vs. Rep. Todd Akin (R) here. Akin started out with a lead, coughed it up (big-time!) when he spouted off about "legitimate" rape and how women cannot become pregnant as a result of "legitimate" rape. His support fell off of the table after his ignorant comments, but he has clawed his way back into contention with a variety attacks on McCaskill (apparently, he thinks she should be "ladylike"; he means that she shouldn't speak the truth about him). If I had to guess, I'd say McCaskill will win, but the race is far closer than it should be.
- OH-Sen: Incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown is facing the bizarre but well-funded Josh Mandel (R). Karl Rove has dumped millions into this race. While Mandel probably won't win (it's still close enough for anything to happen), this race has become a proxy for the presidential race in swing-state Ohio, so expect this one to remain active, and colorful, until the very end. If Mandel does pull this one off, look for the backers of the "Citizens United" decision by the US Supreme Court to raise a glass filled with (very expensive) champagne in a toast to Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and the other corporate stooges on the Supreme Court.
- The races for control of the legislatures in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan: In 2010, those states elected legislatures with Republican majorities and put Republicans in the governor's offices, and the havoc ensued. Each state enacted anti-women, anti-union, anti-society, etc. measures. They may not return Democratic majorities to their respective legislatures, but putting in enough Ds to slow down or even block the most extreme parts of the Rs' ALEC-written and Koch Brothers-funded agenda is likely.
- IN-Sen: Joe Donnelly (D) and Richard Mourdock (R) are facing off here, after the tea party-type Mourdock defeated long-time incumbent Richard Lugar in the Republican primary. If Lugar was the R nominee, this race would be considered a lock for the Republicans. As it is, Mourdock began the general election race leading polls. But he wouldn't just shut up, and the race is now close and going down to the wire. His latest example of "diarrhea of the mouth": Pontificating on how pregnancies resulting from rape are "God's will" and so women should be forced to carry and give birth to rape babies, even against their will.
Others to watch: CT-Sen (Linda McMahon (R), a former pro wrestling executive facing off against Rep. Joe Murphy (D) in a battle to replace the retiring Joe Lieberman (I) ); VA-Sen (Tim Kaine (D) and George "macaca" Allen (R) contesting here); Wisconsin CD1 (R VP nominee Paul Ryan fighting to keep his seat in Congress against Democratic nominee Rob Zerban. This seat should be won by Ryan, but Zerban isn't going away); Florida CD18 (R tea party/batshit crazy type Allen West vs. D newcomer Patrick Murphy) and Massachusetts CD5 (scandal-plagued D incumbent John Tierney vs. R businessman Richard Tisei - the scandal isn't directly about Tierney, it's more about "what did he know and when did he know it" and some of his wife's activities, but that may be enough to cost him his seat).
Got a suggestion for a race to watch on Election Day while we are waiting for AZ and presidential returns to come in? Leave it in a comment here.