In the End, Pivotal Races Tipped to Democrats
But voters responded to Klein's claim that Shaw hadn't done enough to challenge the administration on its Iraq policy. Indeed, after making a visit to Iraq this summer, Shaw said little publicly about the experience. Capitalizing on the district's tops-in-nation population of those 65 and older, Klein slammed Shaw for his support of the prescription drug plan. At 49, Klein's relative youth and energy also provided a sharp contrast to the grandfatherly approach by Shaw, 67.
The loss is particularly sore for Republicans. The party reshaped the district when Shaw nearly lost in 2000, giving him a staunchly Republican swath of Palm Beach County to the north. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Klein won with 51.1 percent of the vote. Shaw garnered 46.9 percent. Bret Schulte
Illinois Eighth: "Most Endangered" Democrat Wins Re-election in Illinois
The conservative Eighth District of Illinois was one of the few places this year where a Republican could dare to proudly be a Republican, and David McSweeney was a very proud Republican. His campaign events brought in everyone from the president to former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka. But one of the GOP's few hopes for a pickup went the same way as most of their hopes Tuesday, as Rep. Melissa Bean won a second term with 50 percent of the vote to McSweeney's 44. Bean had been targeted by the GOP before the campaign as the Democrats' most vulnerable House member.
"The Democrats have taken the majority of the House, and the best news is, I get to be in it," Bean told supporters at a local Marriott Hotel, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The remaining votes went to third-party-candidate Bill Scheurer, whose threat to take antiwar voters disenchanted with Bean's support of the war in Iraq and labor voters angry about her vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement never fully materialized.
Bean, who received every major newspaper endorsement, portrayed herself as a social moderate and fiscal conservative during the race, a claim bolstered by the endorsement of the right-leaning Chamber of Commerce. Ads describing Bean as a "Nancy Pelosi wannabe" never rang true, and the nearly $2.5 million that McSweeney, a former investment banker, put into the race ultimately came up short. Will Sullivan
Indiana Ninth: One-Term GOP Incumbent Goes Down Despite White House Help
Indiana Republican incumbent Mike Sodrel's legacy proved brief. In 2004, he was the only Republican to take a seat away from a House Democrat without the benefit of redistricting, slamming his opponent Baron Hill on cultural issues that had been propelling Republicans to Congress since the 1994 GOP revolution.
The formula may have lost its power. Hill, back to challenge Sodrel, this time took this rural, conservative district by about 6,000 voteseclipsing the Sodrel's 1,500 edge two years ago. A social and fiscal conservative who was previously outflanked by Sodrel, Hill took the offensive in the race, airing the first "social values" ad of the season, which called marriage between a man and a woman "sacred." Two years ago, Sodrel criticized Hill for failing to support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage while in the House. Hill says that while he believes gay marriage is wrong, it's a decision best left to the states.