CONNECTICUT, DISTRICT 4
Rep. Christopher Shays (R) vs. Diane Farrell (D)
Farrell on Shays: “Chris Shays is no independent; he’s a loyal Republican through and through.”
Shays on farrell: Shays accuses Farrell of allowing “shadow organizations” to make “robo-calls” on her behalf, including one claiming that Shays is “voting with religious extremists instead of Nancy Reagan and the medical experts.” Farrell denies any connection to the calls.
Hail mary: Shays made headlines last week when the moderate Republican broke ranks and called for Rumsfeld to resign.
Latest Handicap: Farrell by five.
ILLINOIS, DISTRICT 6 (OPEN SEAT)
Tammy Duckworth (D) vs. Peter Roskam (R)
Duckworth on Roskam: “I am sick and tired of the Republicans saying, ‘Either you agree with us on national security or you are not patriotic’ … It is total baloney—in fact, I have a better Army word, but I can’t use it.”
Roskam on Duckworth: “The Sixth Congressional District is not a cut-and-run district. It is not a timetable district … What the national Democrats are running on is a cut-and-run program.”
Game-changing Gaffe: A furor erupted over Roskam’s “cut and run” comments; Duckworth lost her legs when her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq.
Latest handicap: Duckworth by five.
PENNSYLVANIA, DISTRICT 10
Rep. Don Sherwood (R) vs. Chris Carney (D)
Carney on Sherwood: “Holding happy-hour fund-raisers with people who cover up the cyber-molestation of children should be below even the questionable morals of Don Sherwood.”
Sherwood on Carney: “Chris Carney said when he first announced he was running that he was going to run on the issues and was not going to talk about the personal situation. But clearly his campaign has decided to do something different.”
Politics as usual: The race turns on an incident where Sherwood allegedly choked his mistress in his Washington apartment in 2004, putting what was once a guaranteed Republican seat up for grabs. Sherwood’s posture has been abject contrition. “I made a mistake that nearly cost me the love of my wife, Carol, and our daughters,” he said in an ad. “Should you forgive me, you can count on me to keep on fighting hard for you and your family.”
Latest handicap: Carney by nine.
VERMONT (OPEN SEAT)
Martha Rainville (R) vs. Peter Welch (D)
Rainville on Welch: “Politics has gotten ugly in America … I’m running a different kind of campaign that respects my opponent and respects you.”
Welch on Rainville: “I saw Martha Rainville, but what I heard was paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.”
Politics as Usual: In Vermont, niceness counts, and both are trying to claim the Jimmy Stewart mantle. “You know what, I was married to the same woman for 28 years,” says Welch, a 59-year-old widower who campaigns with his dog. “I’ve had the same law partner for over 30 years, with no written agreement, just a handshake. I’m pretty boring. But they will find stuff, and if they don’t find it, they will make it up.”
Game-Changing Gaffe: Rainville fired her speechwriter after she learned that he was lifting from the speeches of Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton.
Latest handicap: Welch by three.
NEW YORK, DISTRICT 26
Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) vs. Jack Davis (D)
Reynolds on Davis: “If you want someone who has called himself a protectionist and would build a wall around western New York and hold us back, then choose Jack.”
Davis on Reynolds: “The career politicians remind me of the captain and deck officers of the Titanic. They sail on, oblivious to their mistakes and the dangers ahead.
Politics as Usual: Reynolds, when asked what he did when he found out about the Foley matter, said, “I did what most people would do in the workplace—I heard something and I took it to my supervisor.” Later, at a press conference, he surrounded himself with children. When reporters asked that he dismiss the kids so they could ask “adult” questions, he refused.
Latest handicap: Davis by five.
Democrats need six seats to take the Senate and fifteen seats for the House. At the time of publication, Democrats were leading in three of the seven most competitive Senate races and eleven of the fifteen most competitive House contests.