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Correction to This Article
This article incorrectly described Rep. Charles W. "Chip" Pickering Jr. as favored to be reelected. Pickering is retiring from the House; analysts predict that Republican Gregg Harper will defeat Democrat Joel Gill in Tuesday's election.

The State of the Election: South

Crowd members cheer at a Barack Obama rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville. His rival is expected to win the state easily.
Crowd members cheer at a Barack Obama rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville. His rival is expected to win the state easily. (By Jahi Chikwendiu -- The Washington Post)
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Alabama (9 electoral votes)

John McCain will win easily here, as will Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) and the four House Republicans and lone Democrat, Rep. Artur Davis, who are running for reelection. Tight races are unfolding in the two open seats. Looking to replace retiring Republican Rep. Terry Everett, state Rep. Jay Love (R) and Montgomery Mayor Bobby N. Bright are in a tight race in the southeastern 2nd District. Democrats are trying to keep the seat of retiring Rep. Robert E. "Bud" Cramer, as insurance executive Wayne Parker (R) takes on state Sen. Parker Griffith in the northern 5th district.

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Arkansas (6)

McCain is strongly favored here, as Barack Obama effectively ceded the state to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Democratic primaries and never built a general-election operation in the state. Sen. Mark Pryor (D) faces only token opposition from a Green Party candidate, as the state's GOP never found a strong candidate to take on the incumbent. All four of the state's House members (three Democrats, one Republican) are likely to win reelection easily.

Kentucky (8)

While McCain will win easily here, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is in a surprisingly close race with wealthy businessman Bruce Lunsford in a state that President Bush won by 20 points in 2004. A pair of state senators, David Boswell (D) and Brett Guthrie (R), are in a tight race to win an open seat in the 2nd District in the western part of the state, where GOP Rep. Ron Lewis is retiring. A Boswell win would leave the state's House delegation evenly split, as the five other incumbents are favored to win comfortably. Rep. John Yarmuth (D) is favored in his 3rd District rematch against former congresswoman Anne M. Northup.

Louisiana (9)

As is the case in much of the South, Obama has campaigned little here, and McCain is heavily favored. Mary Landrieu is the only endangered Senate Democrat, but leads State Treasurer John Kennedy in polls.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R), who won a special election in May to replace Bobby Jindal (R), now the state's governor, is expected to win reelection easily in the eastern 1st District race against Jim Harlan, who runs an energy company. Rep. Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. (D), who won in a special election in May to replace Richard H. Baker (R), who retired, is in a tight race against state Sen. Bill Cassidy (R). Cazayoux's race in the Baton Rouge-area 6th District is complicated by the candidacy of state Rep. Michael L. Jackson, whom Cazayoux defeated in the Democratic primary this year, but who is now running as an independent.

Two congressional races will not be decided on Election Day because Hurricane Gustav required the delay of primaries scheduled for Sept. 6. Rep. William J. Jefferson (D), who is awaiting trial on bribery charges, finished first in an Oct. 4 primary in a crowded field of Democrats in the New Orleans-area 2nd District. But because he did not win a majority, he will face second-place finisher Helena Moreno, a former television journalist, in an all-Democratic runoff on Election Day. The winner of the runoff is a heavy favorite to win the general election for the seat on Dec. 6. Both parties think they can win the Dec. 6 election in the northwestern 4th District, where Rep. Jim McCrery (R) is retiring.

Mississippi (6)

McCain should prevail easily here, as will longtime Sen. Thad Cochran (R). Sen. Roger Wicker, who was appointed last year to fill the seat of former Sen. Trent Lott (R), who resigned, is a slight favorite over former governor Ronnie Musgrove (D). The winner would serve the rest of Lott's term and face reelection in 2012. Rep. Travis Childers (D) won an upset victory in a special election to fill Wicker's House seat in May and is favored to hold the northern 1st District in a rematch with Southaven Mayor Charles G. "Greg" Davis (R). With incumbents Gene Taylor (D), Bennie Thompson (D) and Charles W. "Chip" Pickering Jr. (R) favored, another Childers win would mean three of the four congressional seats in this conservative state would be held by Democrats.

South Carolina (8)

McCain is heavily favored here, as is the senator's close friend Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R), who is running for reelection. But Rep. Henry E. Brown Jr. (R) is in a tight race in the Charleston-area 1st District against businesswoman Linda Ketner. The daughter of the founder of the Food Lion grocery store chain, she has pumped more than $700,000 of her own money into the race, outspending the incumbent for most of the year.

Tennessee (11)

The Volunteer State has moved steadily toward the GOP, and McCain is in good shape here. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) and the state's nine House members (five Democrats, four Republicans) are also heavily favored. Rep. Stephen I. Cohen (D), one of the few white members of Congress representing a majority-black district, easily won a contested primary for his seat in the Memphis area and will win reelection. In the eastern 1st District, Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe defeated GOP Rep. David Davis by about 500 votes in a primary and should join the House in a walk over Democrat Rob Russell.


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