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Election '06 Briefs: D-Day for Chafee

RI Sen: Today's the big day for Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island. Expect it to be very close. Laffey has run an effective outsider campaign, fueled by $700,000 from the Club For Growth. Chafee, on the other hand, has gotten more than $1 million in support from the NRSC as well as establishment support for his GOTV effort.

Meanwhile, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse is waiting in the wings. With a million five in cash and help from the DSCC he'll be a heavy favorite against Laffey and a formidable challenger to Chafee - should he survive today's vote.

MD Sen: The other big race on the docket today has national implications as well. A SurveyUSA poll released last night shows Cardin with a 9-point lead. Whether this poll is accurately capturing the feelings of African-Americans remains to be seen, and if black voters turnout for Mfume today we might be in for a very close race.

The conventional widsom is that Cardin will be a stronger candidate against Republican Michael Steele, but as John wrote recently about this race, "if Mr. Cardin holds on to win after what has been a racially tinged primary against Mr. Mfume, Democrats could face the very real prospect of a disappointed African-American base in the fall." In other words, a close Mfume loss today could be a boost to Steele's chances.

AZ-8: The nasty GOP battle in this Congressional district primary comes to a close today and will provide a telling indicator of the base's feeling on immigration. As most people are aware, the NRCC took the extraordinary measure of stepping in to help support moderate Steve Huffman, while the Democrat in the race has launched a wave of attack ads against Huffman, hoping to draw the more conservative Randy Graf in the general election. Interesting note: Arizona's primary is open, and there are 114,330 "independents/others" among Pima County's 422,950 registered voters (party breakdown is 165,140 Democrats and 138,975 Republicans).

IL Gov: A new Tribune/WGN poll has good news and bad news for Rod Blagojevich. The good news: he's up 12 points on Judy Baar Topinka who despite finally launching her own ad campaign last week has yet to break 40 percent in any public poll. The bad news: eight weeks before the election the Governor is still at 45%. With Green Party candidate Rich Whitney pulling 6 percent, Blagojevich won't need much more to win, but it demonstrates just how soft his support is this year. Against a better, more well funded opponent (and a state Republican party that wasn't so anemic), Blago would be in a decent amount of trouble.