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Previewing Election Day

A preview of the races we're watching tomorrow:

Kentucky Governor
Steve Beshear/Dan Mongiardo (D)
Ernie Fletcher/Robbie Rudolph (R-inc)

Beshear is expected to cruise to victory tomorrow. Polls show him leading Fletcher by fifteen to twenty points. The Washington Post on Sunday even spotlighted the race as a sign that Democrats are undergoing a resurgence in the Bluegrass State.

Kentucky Secretary Of State
Trey Grayson (R-inc)
Bruce Hendrickson (D)

Grayson has spent close to $1 million on the race, and while former Pineville Mayor Bruce Hendrickson has spent only $18,000, a recent poll showed him trailing Grayson by just 4 points with 24% undecided. In a landslide gubernatorial race, no matter how much of a future Grayson has in state politics, he may be the victim of a Democratic tide.

Mississippi Governor
Haley Barbour (R-inc)
John Arthur Eaves (D)

Eaves has spent a good amount of his own money, but Barbour has spent more, and is likely to cruise to an easy re-election, likely becoming the only governor this year to successfully carry his state for his own party.

Virginia State Senate
District 1 (Republican Open Seat)
John Miller (D)
Tricia Stall (R)

District 6
Nick Rerras (R-inc)
Ralph Northam (D)

District 27 (Republican Open Seat)
Karen Schultz (D)
Jill Holtzman Vogel (R)
Donald Marro (I)

District 34
Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-inc)
Chap Petersen (D)

District 37
Ken Cuccinelli (R-inc)
Janet Oleszek (D)

District 39
Jay O'Brien (R-inc)
George Barker (D)

Republicans admit that the game is being played virtually entirely on their side of the field. Democrats need just four seats to retake the State Senate, and given recent polls showing the party preferred by a majority of Virginians, this year presents their best shot in the eight years since they lost control to Republicans. Major candidates are all up on the air, with the GOP stressing their support for immigration reform and Democrats pointing to popular Gov. Tim Kaine as their model.

New Jersey State Senate
District 1
Nicholas Asselta (R-inc)
Jeff Van Drew (D)

District 2
Sonny McCullough (R-inc)
Jim Whelan (D)

District 12
Ellen Karcher (D-inc)
Jennifer Beck (R)

District 39
Gerald Cardinale (R-inc)
Joe Ariyan (D)

Democrats hold a 22-18 seat advantage in the legislature, and this year brings just a few strong opportunities for parties to pick up a seat or two. Recent Zogby polls showed Van Drew and Whelan leading their Republican opponents 45%-42% and 50%-37%, respectively, where the margin of error was +/- 5%. Karcher is in enough trouble to have merited a weekend visit from State Senate President Dick Codey.

The real theme of this year's races: Unbelievable amounts of money. Van Drew, Whelan and Karcher have all out-raised their opponents, on the order of $3 million, $3 million and somewhere around $5 million, respectively. Their Republican counterparts have scooped up more than $1 million each, but are still facing big funding gaps.

Salt Lake City Mayor
Ralph Becker (D)
Dave Buhler (R)

Running to replace Democrat Rocky Anderson, Becker, the state House Minority Leader, leads Buhler by 21 points in a Mason-Dixon poll conducted early last week. Though it's a conservative state, Becker looks likely to keep the seat in Democratic hands.

King County Prosecutor
Dan Satterberg (R)
Bill Sherman (D)

A local election in which Politics Nation is intensely interested. After long-time King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng passed away, in May, his assistant, Dan Satterberg, is facing off with Democratic activist Sherman in the general election. Maleng was the lone safe Republican in an increasingly Democratic county, home of Seattle, and did not face a serious challenge for decades. Now Satterberg, running as Maleng's successor, promises to make the office nonpartisan. Satterberg enjoys the support of a large number of liberal Democratic elected officials and may just pull off what would be a big coup.

King County Council District 6
Jane Hague (R-inc)
Richard Pope (D)

On the east side of Lake Washington, where Republicans still hold many state legislative and local seats, incumbent King County Councilwoman Jane Hague looked to be cruising to re-election. Even after being charged with a DUI, Hague did not face a serious challenger. Now, though, she is worried enough to have dumped more than $100,000 into her own race.

County Democrats are not backing Pope, though, and most of Hague's Democratic colleagues on the council want her back for four more years. What's wrong with Pope? He's run for office ten times, changed parties three times and been reprimanded by lots of judges throughout the county. If he wins, he will create some great headlines around the county for the next four years.