From NBC's Ali Weinberg
A few weeks ago, First Read rated our Top 10 Senate races, in terms of the likelihood of switching parties. Here's our breakdown, again, with a look at the headlines from some of those battlegrounds' local papers:
New Hampshire (R)
CONNECTICUT: "In another measure of just how important U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd's fate is to the Democratic party, the embattled Connecticut senator is getting his third high-profile visit of the fall. Vice President Joseph Biden will come to Hartford on Dec. 11 for a lunchtime fundraiser for Dodd...Dodd, who is up for reelection in Nov. 2010, has been struggling in the polls. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that more than half of the state's voters disapprove of his job performance. And 53 percent said the 30-year incumbent doesn't deserve a another term in Washington."
The Hartford Courant writes that despite his low name recognition, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy (D) shouldn't be written off as a contender in the 2010 Connecticut governor's race.
NEVADA: Politico on the GOP's allowing Doug Hampton, John Ensign's former lover's husband, to carry out his "one-man crusade" against Ensign: "By pressuring Ensign to resign, the GOP could face a distracting intraparty squabble just as it prepares to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in what will very likely be the most contested race of the 2010 midterm elections. And after seeing the media frenzy from their unsuccessful efforts to push Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) from office after he was caught in a bathroom sex sting in 2007, GOP leaders believe it's better to avoid commenting on the matter."
MISSOURI: "The League of Conservation Voters is keeping a TV advertisement targeting U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt for his vote against the cap and trade legislation on the air through the end of the month." Blunt has accepted over $1 million from "energy and natural resources interests since being elected to Congress in 1996," according to campaign finance reports. "Blunt, who is running for the U.S. Senate next year, [said] LCV is "helping" his likely Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, in the advertising blitz."
ILLINOIS: Rep. Jane Schakowsky "became the fifth member of the state's congressional delegation to back" Illinois state treasurer and current Democratic frontrunner Alexi Giannoulias, which CQ Politics points out could help him among female voters, as one of his top rivals is a woman, former Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Robinson Jackson.
The Washington Post's Chris Cilizza points to developments in the Illinois race which could result in a "nasty few months." The pollster for Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman, also campaigning for the Democratic Senate nomination, said that Giannoulias' "nomination would put Barack Obama's former Senate seat in extreme jeopardy for the Democrats" because of Giannoulias' ties to "disgraced developer Tony Rezko." Hoffman could be another stiff competitor for Giannoulias, due to his "aggressive fundraising: he posted nearly $900,000 raised including a $500,000 personal loan at the end of September."
As the debate over bringing detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to the U.S. blazes, Rep. Mark Kirk (R) has proposed an amendment to the upcoming supplemental appropriations bill requiring a 'Homeland Insecurity Impact Statement' assessing the "potential impact" on O'Hare Airport and the Sears Tower that transferring detainees to an Illinois prison would have.
Writes the Chicago Tribune, "the proposal is a red-meat issue for a social moderate looking to burnish his conservative credibility as he seeks the Republican U.S. Senate nomination."
LOUISIANA: "The 60 Plus Association, which bills itself as the conservative alternative to AARP, began running television advertisements in Louisiana on Monday to thank Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, for voting against the House health care bill. But the additional purpose of the spot is to warn Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., that she should do the same when Democrats try to bring the health care overhaul to the Senate floor."
PENNSYLVANIA: "Congressman Joe Sestak (D-7) and radio host Rush Limbaugh had a little tussle over the weekend, after Limbaugh called Sestak a "dangerous, left-wing, radical ideologue" for supporting the Obama administration's decision to try Guantanamo detainees in the United States. Airing comments Sestak made in a television interview, Limbaugh said the decision to try the detainees in the U.S. was being done "precisely to appease the left."
KENTUCKY: Gurley L. Martin World War II veteran who turns 86 next week, has filed to run as a Republican candidate in next year's Senate race. "In a news release, Martin said he will not be running against anyone. He said the real troublemaker in the world is Satan. Asked the condition of his health, Martin said, 'I'm here, aren't I? My health is wonderful. Every day is a thrill.'"