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More midterm mania

The Christian Science Monitor reviews the seemingly Democratic-leaning landscape of the governors races, which isn't to say that Republicans don't have their opportunities. 

CONNECTICUT Democratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont is focusing on universal health care, hoping it will help broaden his campaign beyond just his opposition to the Iraq war, the Hartford Courant says.  "Lamont... is part of a wave of Democratic candidates who think health care is the next galvanizing issue."  Another Hartford Courant story says McCain, who campaigned in the state yesterday for Rep. Nancy Johnson (R), plans to endorse GOP Senate nominee Alan Schlesinger.

After 522 days of campaigning and $25 million spent, voters in MASSACHUSETTS will decide today who will take on Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) in the gubernatorial race.  Per the Boston Globe, the three-way race between Democrats Deval Patrick, Tom Reilly and Chris Gabrieli may be affected by key factors such as turnout (which is expected to be low) and recent polls. 

In NEW YORK, the state Democratic party has identified its enemies for all the statewide offices as President Bush and Gov. George Pataki (R) -- not their actual opponents, the New York Times says.  "They are so confident of outright victory that they are now shooting for bigger game - an electoral rebuke of Mr. Bush and Mr. Pataki." 

Per a new Quinnipiac poll, Ted Strickland (D) leads Ken Blackwell (R) in OHIO's gubernatorial race by 21 points, Bush's approval in the state is 40%, and GOP Gov. Bob Taft's is a paltry 14%.  The Columbus Dispatch, meanwhile, writes up a debate between Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) and challenger Mary Jo Kilroy (D), who are competing in one of the top House contests this year.  "Kilroy frequently linked Pryce to unpopular Bush administration initiatives, from the Iraq war to the proposed partial privatization of Social Security." Pryce defended "Bush on national security and taxation while distancing herself from the president on Social Security reform and the national deficit, which she called an embarrassment." 

In PENNSYLVANIA, the state Supreme Court granted the Green Party's candidate for Senate, Carl Romanelli, an emergency appeal "that could secure his place on the November ballot, a prospect that's being fought by Democrats who see his presence as a threat to Treasurer Bob Casey's challenge to Sen. Rick Santorum," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. 

Per the Times-Leader, Vice President Cheney raised between $135,000 and $180,000 at a fundraiser for Pennsylvania Rep. Don Sherwood yesterday.  A spokesperson for Sherwood said Cheney's speech "consisted of two main themes: The importance of having a Congress that supports winning the war on terror and a Congress that won't raise taxes and will support tax cuts that have already been passed." 

One day after their Meet the Press debate focused on national security matters, the VIRGINIA Senate candidates faced off over domestic issues in a second debate.  Even so, the Washington Post says, Iraq and President Bush continue to dominate the race. 

In WASHINGTON STATE, Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell's anti-war primary challenger isn't expected to win, but is asking voters "to 'Vote no on war'" today, calling Cantwell's "October 2002 vote in favor of the Iraq war... worthy of electoral punishment" -- the Washington Times