The Pacific

Dramatic flourishes color a bear of a race

Alaska may be home to the most dramatic and peculiar Senate race in the nation -- no small thing in this year of colorful candidates. First, tea-party-backed conservative Joe Miller beat incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary. Then, Murkowski launched a write-in campaign. Then, Miller's numbers began falling amid headlines about his security guard handcuffing a reporter and Miller's own admission that he lied about his misconduct while working as a government lawyer in Fairbanks. If Murkowski wins, she'll become only the second write-in candidate to win election to the Senate, after Strom Thurmond in 1954. But don't count out Democrat Scott McAdams, the little-known mayor of Sitka, in this volatile race.

Republican incumbents in Alaska's two other main races are expected to win easily Tuesday: Don Young, the state's lone representative; and Sean Parnell, the governor who replaced Sarah Palin after she stepped down in July 2009.

Executives' tall orders: Upsetting Brown, Boxer

Two former Silicon Valley chief executives, both Republicans, are in uphill climbs in left-leaning California as they seek to win the governorship and a Senate seat in the nation's most populous state.

Despite spending more money than any non-presidential candidate in U.S. history, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is seen as likely to lose the gubernatorial race to former governor Jerry Brown (D), the state's attorney general.

In the Senate race, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has attacked the Democratic incumbent, Barbara Boxer, for lining up behind President Obama's agenda. But Obama is relatively popular in California, blunting the effectiveness of the argument.

The race between Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) and Van Tran (R) in the 47th District has turned into an ethnic battle of sorts between the Hispanic Sanchez and Tran, a state Assembly member who is seeking to become the second Vietnamese American elected to Congress.

Three other House Democrats are in tight races in central California. In the 18th District, Rep. Dennis Cardoza faces agriculture official Mike Berryhill (R). In the 11th, Rep. Jerry McNerney is even in polls with lawyer David Harmer (R), who has lost two previous congressional runs. GOP businessman Andy Vidak is virtually tied with Rep. Jim Costa in the 20th District.

Most of the state's GOP incumbents are heavily favored. But Rep. Dan Lungren, who represents the suburban Sacramento area's 3rd District, faces an upstart challenge from Ami Bera (D), a doctor and political newcomer.

Karen Bass (D), who was the first black woman to be speaker of the California Assembly, is favored to replace retiring Rep. Diane Watson (D) in the Los Angeles area's 33rd District. State Sen. Jeff Denham (R) is likely to replace retiring Rep. George Radanovich (R) in the central 19th District.

Abercrombie's shift lines up new dominoes

After nearly two decades representing Hawaii in the House, Neil Abercrombie (D) stepped down to run for governor. After a tense Democratic primary, he is the favorite to defeat Republican Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona in this heavily Democratic state. Incumbent Linda Lingle (R) can't run again because of term limits.

The most contested race in the state is for Abercrombie's former seat in the 1st District, which includes Honolulu. GOP Rep. Charles Djou, who won a special election in May to replace Abercrombie, is running even with state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D).

Dudley takes his shot in a game called by voters

Despite an overwhelming concentration of Democratic voters in urban areas of the state, Oregon has become something of a partisan battleground this year. Democrat John Kitzhaber, the former two-term governor who served from 1995 to 2003, is facing Republican Chris Dudley, the former NBA center who may be better known for holding the worst consecutive free throw record in pro basketball (13!). The race is a jump ball.

On the House side, first-term Democrat Kurt Schrader of the Salem-centered 5th District faces a strong challenge from Republican state representative Scott Bruun. A loss for Democrat Peter A. DeFazio of the 4th District, which encompasses Eugene, would be more of an upset; DeFazio is a 12-term incumbent. He faces scientist Art Robinson, who is backed by the tea party.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden is well ahead of his Republican challenger, tea-party-backed candidate Jim Huffman.

This time, incumbent may hold the advantage

Republicans spent months recruiting former state senator Dino Rossi for the race against Sen. Patty Murray (D) and now have spent millions of dollars on ads trying to get him over the top.

Polling suggests the race has closed, but Murray retains a narrow lead and is still well-liked by state voters -- a testament to her underrated political abilities.

Washington voters have shown a propensity to jettison incumbents -- Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell ousted Republican Slade Gorton in 2000 -- which should give Rossi some hope, but he still looks like a slight underdog.

On the House side, both parties are spending heavily for the open seat in the 3rd District, where Rep. Brian Baird (D) is retiring. Republicans are growing confident about state Rep. Jaime Herrera's chances, but Democrats insist former state legislator Denny Heck remains in the game despite taking a battering on television. Rep. Rick Larsen (D) looks likely to win narrowly.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc id dictum mauris. Nulla vulputate pretium pretium. In felis justo, luctus quis mollis sit amet, laoreet in justo. Donec elit diam, sagittis vitae tempus vitae, pharetra vestibulum orci. Morbi fringilla suscipit dui, sed interdum diam imperdiet vitae. Nullam vel viverra elit. Vestibulum porttitor sagittis magna, ut laoreet nulla porta in. Proin iaculis erat a dui lobortis ut lacinia odio iaculis. Fusce auctor elementum scelerisque. Maecenas vitae dolor dolor, non vulputate orci. Nam convallis, dolor quis eleifend tempus, neque elit facilisis arcu, ut vulputate felis tellus cursus turpis. In suscipit sollicitudin congue. Maecenas egestas ipsum euismod tortor tempor facilisis. Praesent at nunc vitae nisi cursus ornare a eu mi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc id dictum mauris. Nulla vulputate pretium pretium. In felis justo, luctus quis mollis sit amet, laoreet in justo. Donec elit diam, sagittis vitae tempus vitae, pharetra vestibulum orci. Morbi fringilla suscipit dui, sed interdum diam imperdiet vitae. Nullam vel viverra elit. Vestibulum porttitor sagittis magna, ut laoreet nulla porta in. Proin iaculis erat a dui lobortis ut lacinia odio iaculis. Fusce auctor elementum scelerisque. Maecenas vitae dolor dolor, non vulputate orci. Nam convallis, dolor quis eleifend tempus, neque elit facilisis arcu, ut vulputate felis tellus cursus turpis. In suscipit sollicitudin congue. Maecenas egestas ipsum euismod tortor tempor facilisis. Praesent at nunc vitae nisi cursus ornare a eu mi.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc id dictum mauris. Nulla vulputate pretium pretium. In felis justo, luctus quis mollis sit amet, laoreet in justo. Donec elit diam, sagittis vitae tempus vitae, pharetra vestibulum orci. Morbi fringilla suscipit dui, sed interdum diam imperdiet vitae. Nullam vel viverra elit. Vestibulum porttitor sagittis magna, ut laoreet nulla porta in. Proin iaculis erat a dui lobortis ut lacinia odio iaculis. Fusce auctor elementum scelerisque. Maecenas vitae dolor dolor, non vulputate orci. Nam convallis, dolor quis eleifend tempus, neque elit facilisis arcu, ut vulputate felis tellus cursus turpis. In suscipit sollicitudin congue. Maecenas egestas ipsum euismod tortor tempor facilisis. Praesent at nunc vitae nisi cursus ornare a eu mi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc id dictum mauris. Nulla vulputate pretium pretium. In felis justo, luctus quis mollis sit amet, laoreet in justo. Donec elit diam, sagittis vitae tempus vitae, pharetra vestibulum orci. Morbi fringilla suscipit dui, sed interdum diam imperdiet vitae. Nullam vel viverra elit. Vestibulum porttitor sagittis magna, ut laoreet nulla porta in. Proin iaculis erat a dui lobortis ut lacinia odio iaculis. Fusce auctor elementum scelerisque. Maecenas vitae dolor dolor, non vulputate orci. Nam convallis, dolor quis eleifend tempus, neque elit facilisis arcu, ut vulputate felis tellus cursus turpis. In suscipit sollicitudin congue. Maecenas egestas ipsum euismod tortor tempor facilisis. Praesent at nunc vitae nisi cursus ornare a eu mi.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc id dictum mauris. Nulla vulputate pretium pretium. In felis justo, luctus quis mollis sit amet, laoreet in justo. Donec elit diam, sagittis vitae tempus vitae, pharetra vestibulum orci. Morbi fringilla suscipit dui, sed interdum diam imperdiet vitae. Nullam vel viverra elit. Vestibulum porttitor sagittis magna, ut laoreet nulla porta in. Proin iaculis erat a dui lobortis ut lacinia odio iaculis. Fusce auctor elementum scelerisque. Maecenas vitae dolor dolor, non vulputate orci. Nam convallis, dolor quis eleifend tempus, neque elit facilisis arcu, ut vulputate felis tellus cursus turpis. In suscipit sollicitudin congue. Maecenas egestas ipsum euismod tortor tempor facilisis. Praesent at nunc vitae nisi cursus ornare a eu mi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc id dictum mauris. Nulla vulputate pretium pretium. In felis justo, luctus quis mollis sit amet, laoreet in justo. Donec elit diam, sagittis vitae tempus vitae, pharetra vestibulum orci. Morbi fringilla suscipit dui, sed interdum diam imperdiet vitae. Nullam vel viverra elit. Vestibulum porttitor sagittis magna, ut laoreet nulla porta in. Proin iaculis erat a dui lobortis ut lacinia odio iaculis. Fusce auctor elementum scelerisque. Maecenas vitae dolor dolor, non vulputate orci. Nam convallis, dolor quis eleifend tempus, neque elit facilisis arcu, ut vulputate felis tellus cursus turpis. In suscipit sollicitudin congue. Maecenas egestas ipsum euismod tortor tempor facilisis. Praesent at nunc vitae nisi cursus ornare a eu mi.

CONTRIBUTORS: The state previews were written and compiled by Washington Post staff writers Chris Cillizza, Dan Balz, Amy Gardner, Shailagh Murray, Paul Kane, Aaron Blake, Felicia Sonmez, Ben Pershing and Perry Bacon Jr. PHOTOGRAPHS: The photographs were taken by The Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters and Getty Images photographers.

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