The party infighting ranges from minor jabs — Titus criticized Democrats for failing to sell the health care bill — to body blows.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is a favorite punching bag.
In Indiana, Donnelly tell voters he fought against Pelosi's "energy tax on Hoosier families."
In Alabama, Rep. Bobby Bright begged off a question about whether he would vote for Pelosi as speaker by pointing out that "she may get sick and die."
In Texas, Edwards also won't say whether Pelosi can still count on his vote.
Nimble politicians have tried to shun their political baggage before when confronted by a wary public.
Republicans did it in 2006 and 2008, when George W. Bush held the White House. Democrats did it in 2000 in a failed attempt to retain the White House in the bruised final days of President Bill Clinton.
"It's an act of desperation more than anything else. 'What can I do to persuade the voters that I can be representative of them?'" said Tom Brunell, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. "They are staring at a tidal wave and they are looking for any life buoy they can find."
Re-election prospects seem particularly dim for the handful of Democrats who trumped Republican incumbents while riding Obama's coattails in 2008.
In Virginia, Nye rarely tells voters he is a Democrat. He calls himself a fiscal conservative and has circulated a petition to extend all income tax rates.
Still, he's in a toss-up race in a conservative district that seems eager to return to a Republican.
In Nevada, Titus' independent message has done little to nudge poll numbers in her favor in a district plagued by record high levels of foreclosures and unemployment and sinking property values.
The first-term congresswoman defended her claim in a recent interview with assurances that she would be willing to vote for extending Bush era tax cuts for everyone and would have voted against the bank bailout had she been in office at the time.
Her challenger, tea party favorite Joe Heck, paints her as a Pelosi henchman.
Titus' "independent voice" sign hangs in Heck's campaign office. His staff called it motivation.
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