by Craig Dimitri

Of the 33 seats up this cycle, there are only eight – the “Big Eight”, currently in significant likelihood of changing party control.  Six are incumbent Republicans, one is a currently GOP open-seat, one is an incumbent Democrat.   Democrats must make a net gain of six seats to take control, 51-49.

One of the six incumbents is embattled George Allen in what is normally reliably Republican Virginia.   Rasmussen Reports – a highly respected independent pollster, released a poll on Friday, October 27, showing Allen with the slightest of leads – one percentage point – over Democratic challenger Jim Webb.  In the Old Dominion, the race stands as a 49%-48% margin (i.e., a statistical tie).

This race is unusual, as Webb is a prominent former Republican: in fact, Webb served as Navy secretary in the Cabinet of Republican President Ronald Reagan.  The war in Iraq has emerged as the top issue, unsurprisingly.  For the GOP, this is a distressingly close contest, in light of the fact that at the beginning of 2006, Allen was perceived as being a safe seat in a red state.  Now, even if he wins, he will absorb Republican time and resources in an election which Allen was expected to win handily. 

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at


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