‘Tea party’ hopes to stay hot

Delaware, N.H. races seen as key for Senate

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Mr. Castle leads Mr. Coons 49 percent to 37 percent in the race for the seat left open when Joseph R. Biden Jr. became vice president. Ms. O'Donnell trails 36 percent to 46 percent, according to the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll.

The poll also shows the leader in the GOP primary to take the U.S. House seat held by Mr. Castle is conservative candidate Glen Urquhart. He leads 50 percent to 38 percent over establishment-backed candidate Michele Rollins.

While Mr. DeMint and Mrs. Palin have backed Ms. Donnelly, they support different candidates in the New Hampshire GOP Senate primary.

Over the weekend, Mr. DeMint endorsed conservative lawyer Ovide Lamontagne, whose late surge has cut the lead of New Hampshire GOP favorite and Palin-backed Kelly Ayotte, a former state attorney general.

A Public Polling Policy survey conducted during the same Sept. 11-12 period as the Delaware poll found Mrs. Ayotte had a slim lead of 37 percent compared with Mr. Lamontagne’s 30 percent. Mrs. Ayotte had been ahead by more than 30 points earlier this year. The other two candidates - William Binnie and Jim Bender - each had roughly 12 percent support. The winner will face Democrat Paul Hodes.

Mr. Rangel faces a challenge from state Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV in the Democratic primary race for the House seat that represents Harlem voters.

Despite facing 13 charges of ethics violations - including tax evasion - the House Ways and Means Committee chairman leads by roughly 18 points over Mr. Powell, whose campaign in the District 15 race also has been the subject of ethics questions. The 80-year-old Mr. Rangel also leads in fundraising, roughly $2.7 million to $126,000 for Mr. Powell, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission reports.

Republicans see House races in heavily Democratic New York in November as crucial in their effort to win 39 seats and retake control of the chamber. Pollsters project the GOP could win as many as six seats in an anti-incumbent voting wave.

In other key races Tuesday, former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is expected to easily defeat Palin-backed challenger and business investor Brian Murphy in the GOP primary. Mr. Ehrlich would then face Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, in a rematch of their 2006 race.

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty appears headed for defeat against challenger Vincent C. Gray, who is D.C. Council chairman. First-termer Mr. Fenty made strides to improve the city’s troubled school system but alienated many voters, especially those in poorer neighborhoods who felt ignored and dismissed. Mr. Gray leads in practically every poll.

In Massachusetts, Democratic incumbent Rep. Stephen F. Lynch cast a vote against health care reform and faces a tough primary challenge from progressive and union activist Mac D’Alessandro, who reportedly received at least $200,000 in support from the Service Employees International Union as it tries to oust House Democrats who didn’t support the health care act.

Along the state’s southern coast, including Cape Cod, state lawmaker Jeff Perry holds a slight lead against former state Treasurer Bill Malone in the GOP primary for the seat left open by retiring Rep. Bill Delahunt, a Democrat. Bolstered by Scott Brown’s surprise win earlier this year for Senate, Republicans think they can win the seat.

In Rhode Island, the Democratic primary for the open seat of retiring Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy features a close race among front-runner and Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, businessman Anthony Gemma and state party Chairman Bill Lynch. The winner likely will face Republican state lawmaker John Loughlin II.

In Wisconsin’s GOP gubernatorial primary, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has a slim lead over former Rep. Mark Neumann. They both hold single-digit leads over likely Democratic candidate Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, according to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll.

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