Sen. Conrad Burns (R) vs. Jon Tester (D)
Burns on Tester: “Montanans want to be safe from terrorists … but what does Jon Tester want?”
Tester on Burns: “Conrad Burns was the No. 1 friend of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates, taking $150,000.”
Base-pleasing political stunt: A third-generation farmer, Tester took six days off from his campaign to harvest his grain.
Game-changing Gaffes: Burns once said that the U.S. was up against a faceless enemy of terrorists who “drive taxicabs in the daytime and kill at night”; said that firefighters did a “piss-poor job” against local forest fires.
Latest handicap: Tester by four percentage points.
Sen. Rick Santorum (R) vs. Bob Casey Jr. (D)
Santorum on Casey: “Bob Casey loves running for office. Showing up to do the job, that’s a different story … Before running for a new job, should he show up for the one we’re paying him for?”
Casey on Santorum: “Rick Santorum says that both parents don’t need to work to support a family … He voted three times to raise his own pay … I would like Rick Santorum to come to our house at the end of the month . . . and tell me how we’re supposed to do it on one salary.”
Game-changing gaffe: Santorum’s ads depicted Casey’s campaign team as being made up of cigar-smoking crooks hanging out in a jail cell. As it happens, none of the crooks alluded to had donated to Casey; two had donated to Santorum, and one is dead.
Latest handicap: Casey by twelve.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D) vs. Tom Kean Jr. (R)
Kean on Menendez: “Menendez is just one scandal away from becoming the next Bob Torricelli.”
Menendez on Kean: “This campaign started with Tom Kean Jr. trying to ‘Swift Boat’ my history as a reformer, and [he] failed miserably. The bottom line is New Jerseyans will see through the Kean campaign on trying to play the politics of personal destruction.”
Politics as usual: Kean hired a specialist to dig up old dirt about an eighties corruption scandal to smear Menendez. In response, Menendez issued a new ad that features the mug shot of ex–Hudson County exec Robert Janiszewski saying, “Federal prisoner 25038-050. He’s Tom Kean Jr.’s newest adviser.”
Latest Handicap: Menendez by ten.
Sen. George Allen (R) vs. Jim Webb (D)
Allen on Webb: “Who is more modern in their attitude towards women: the Taliban or … Webb? Tough call.”
Webb on Allen: “George Allen—he thinks George Bush is right 97 percent of the time.”
Game-changing gaffe: Allen called an Indian-American Webb staffer “macaca”; is alleged to have used the word nigger; reacted angrily when asked by a reporter if he was Jewish, before admitting that he had Jewish grandparents.
Attempt at a checkers speech: Allen held what his campaign called a “diversity rally.”
Latest handicap: Allen by eleven.
Sen. Mike DeWine (R) vs. Sherrod Brown (D)
Brown on DeWine: “Did you get that big tax cut Mike DeWine’s been bragging about?”
Dewine on Brown: “Where does Sherrod Brown stand on protecting America? … Brown even voted against the death penalty for terrorists who kill passengers on trains and subways.”
Game-changing gaffe: DeWine used the firm that did the Swift Boat ads to attack Brown, but Brown’s team discredited their ads, showing that footage of the Twin Towers used in the spot had been doctored.
Latest handicap: Dead heat.
ARIZONA, DISTRICT 8 (OPEN SEAT)
Randy Graf (R) vs. Gabrielle Giffords (D)
Graf on Giffords: “Thinking about voting for Gabrielle Giffords? Giffords is a liberal extremist who su
pports Spanish ballots, amnesty, and even citizenship for illegals.”
Giffords on Graf: “Our ports: uninspected. Our borders: unprotected. And we’re still dependent on Mideast oil. Five years after 9/11, Washington failed to make us safer.”
Game-changing gaffe: David Duke prominently displays a photo of Graf—and a link to his campaign—on his Website.
Nail in the coffin: Jim Kolbe, the 22-year veteran vacating the seat, has refused to endorse Graf because he sees his views as too extreme, saying, “We can do better.” The GOP has pulled funding for Graf’s ads.
Latest Handicap: Giffords by eight.
INDIANA, DISTRICT 8
Rep. John Hostettler (R) vs. Brad Ellsworth (D)
Republicans on Ellsworth: “Can you imagine a suspected child rapist being captured in Vanderburgh County, but then mistakenly released by Brad Ellsworth’s Sheriff’s Department?”
Ellsworth on Hostettler: “It’s Hostettler’s record in Washington that puts us at risk. Hostettler … even opposed funding for the fight against sexual predators.”
Politics as usual: An anonymous automated telephone message accused Hostettler “of wanting gun rights for convicted sex offenders,” claiming he “voted against making it a crime to sell guns to convicted sex offenders—including child rapists.”
Game-Changing Gaffe: In 2002, Hostettler angered a group of breast-cancer survivors when he allegedly sought to link abortions to their disease. In 2004, Hostettler was detained at a Louisville airport after he “completely forgot” that he was carrying a loaded 9-mm. Glock pistol onto a US Airways flight.
Latest handicap: Ellsworth by fifteen.