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Midterm mania (yes, still)

With the congressional race in GEORGIA between Rep. John Barrow (D) and Max Burns (R) still undecided (Barrow leads by 963 votes), the New York Times notes how Barrow and fellow Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall, who narrowly won his race, seemed to have prevailed in a state that's trending Republican. 

In addition to the small handful of still-uncalled races, there are two runoffs that will occur next month.  First, LOUISIANA Rep. William Jefferson (D) -- he of frozen $90,000 fame -- got only 30% of the vote in a crowded field, forcing him to face fellow Democrat Karen Carter on December 9.  That's never a strong position for an incumbent.  "I just can't believe that Jefferson can pull this off," says Amy Walter of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.  "An incumbent who gets 30% in a crowded primary is not the favorite in the general election."  (Of course, we also thought Ray Nagin was doomed after being in a similar position, and he stunned the political world by winning his mayoral runoff earlier this year.)

On the flip side, TEXAS Rep. Henry Bonilla (R) received a near majority -- 49% -- in the free-for-all election last week for the redrawn congressional district (mandated by the US Supreme Court) he currently represents.  But that was still below the 50% he needed to avoid a runoff, and he could be in a tough race.  "I don't think this it's a runaway victory for Bonilla," Walter tells First Read, noting that his district isn't as GOP-friendly as it used to be.  Bonilla will compete against former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D) in the runoff that's likely to occur next month (a date still hasn't been set), and the already victorious Democratic congressional campaign committee sees the contest as another pickup opportunity.