New Congress likely to frustrate Obama or Romney

Associated Press Published: November 6, 2012
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SOUTH

Senate: The country's most expensive Senate race pits two former Virginia governors against each other in a tossup: Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson seems likely to beat back a challenge by GOP Rep. Connie Mack in Florida.

House: North Carolina should be a big bright spot for Republicans. They seem likely to defeat Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell, are virtually certain to pick up two districts abandoned by retiring Democrats and could win another seat. Florida features the nation's most expensive House race as Democrats try ousting GOP Rep. Allen West, a tea party favorite. Six other House races in the state are close. Endangered Democratic Reps. John Barrow of Georgia and Ben Chandler of Kentucky are favorite GOP targets. Another freshman, anti-abortion GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, may be in trouble after reports that he pressured a former mistress to get an abortion.

MIDWEST

Senate: Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill may hold on after her GOP rival, Rep. Todd Akin, asserted that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies from a "legitimate rape." Indiana GOP Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock was expected to win until he suggested pregnancies from rape were part of God's plan. Both races are close. Republicans seem likely to capture North Dakota and Nebraska Senate seats being vacated by retiring Democrats. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown seems likely to win an ever tighter race in Ohio, while the Wisconsin battle between Republican Tommy Thompson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin is close.

House: Two Ohio incumbents, Republican Jim Renacci and Democrat Betty Sutton, are battling closely in one of the most expensive House races. Conservative champions Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa are being challenged but are expected to win. Four Illinois GOP House members face stiff challenges and one — Rep. Joe Walsh — seems almost certain to lose. Also in trouble: tea party freshman Dan Benishek of Michigan.

WEST

Senate: Nevada Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid has been helped by ethics questions raised against Democratic challenger Rep. Shelley Berkley. GOP Rep. Jeff Flake has faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from Democrat Richard Carmona in Arizona in a test of Hispanic voting strength in the state. Democratic Sen. Jon Tester faces a tough challenge from GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg in Montana.

House: Perennial GOP target Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah faces a difficult contest against Republican Mia Love, who would be the first Republican black woman in Congress. Two GOP Colorado congressmen are in tight races, while Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter must fend off a largely self-financed challenge by Joe Coors of the beer-making family. Republican Danny Tarkanian, son of former University of Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, is running strongly. In Arizona, Democrat Ron Barber — he succeeded gravely wounded Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — may lose that seat.

PACIFIC

There are no competitive Senate races and few in the House. The big battleground is California, where veteran Rep. Lois Capps faces the tightest race of four Democrats in competitive contests. Four veteran California Republicans are also battling for their political lives, including Reps. Dan Lungren and Mary Bono Mack.