MOST FIGHTS were settled in the Democratic primaries and the state is due for a total turnover in top offices.
Retiring Gov. George C. Wallace (D) will be succeeded by Forest (Fob) James (D), 42, an Auburn football star and sporting goods manufacturer, who surprised three better-known rivals in the Democratic primary and runoff. A onetime Republican, James is strong favorite to defeat former probate judge Guy Hunt (R), 45, the leader of the Reagan delegation at the 1976 convention.
Retiring Sen. John J. Sparkman (D) will be succeeded by former state supreme court chief justice Howell Heflin (D), 57, whose Republican opponent switched to the other Senate race last week.
In that race, for the remaining two years of the term of the late Sen. James B. Allen (D), state Sen. Donald Stewart (D), 38, took the nomination from Allen's widow, Maryon Allen, named by Wallace as the interim senator. Stewart will opposed by ex-Rep. James D. Martin (R), 59, who expects more business backing than he would have had against Heflin. Stewart is the early favorite.
The only House incumbent with a serious challenge is Rep. William L. Dickinson (R) and he is favored. ARKANSAS
WHAT BEGAN as a wild Democratic primary scramble for governor, senator and two open House seats has become a decorous campaign in the general election.
The new governor is expected to be Atty. Gen. Bill Clinton (D), 31, whose opposition comes from GOP state chairman A. Lynn Lowe (R), 42.
Gov. David Pryor (D), 43, will take over the Senate seat to which he appointed Kaneaster Hodges Jr. (D) after the death of Sen. John L. McClellan (D). Pryor's opponent is political novice Tom Kelly (R), 35.
Republicans are concentrating on taking over one of the two house seats vacated by unsuccessful Democratic senatorial candidates, but their chances seem no better than even. FLORIDA
FORMER STATE Sen. Robert Graham (D), 41, who scored a come-from-behind victory in last Thursday's Democratic gubernatorial runoff, now looms as a major threat to Republican hopes to recapture the governorship held for the last eight years by retiring Gov. Reubin Askew (D). Graham, a wealthy developer who "worked" for a day at a variety of commonplace jobs to become better known, upset Atty. Gen. Robert L. Shevin (D) in the runoff. He now faces Jack M. Eckerd (R), 66, a millionaire drug store chain owner who has run previously for both governor and senator. A pre-runoff poll by the St. Petersburg Times showed Graham 14 points ahead of Eckerd, who has been defensive about his role as former head of the General Services Administration.
In House races, Democrats are favored to take over two Republican seats and are threatening in a third, while Republicans have lesser chances in three districts. Rep. J. Herbert Burke (R), who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges after his arrest outside a nude-dancing nightclub is a definite underdog against sheriff Edward J. Stack (D). In the seat vacated by Rep. Lous Frey Jr. (R), who lost in the gubernatorial primary to Eckerd, state Rep. Bill Nelson (D) is favored over ex-Sen. Edward J. Gurney (R). A third Democratic threat centers on Rep. Richard Kelly (R), but he is favored. Republicans have some chance against Rep. Claude Pepper (D) and in the seats vacated by retiring Reps. Robert L. F. Sikes (D) and Paul G. Rogers (D). GEORGIA
GOV. GEORGE BUSBEE (D), 50, and Sen. Sam Nunn (D), 39, each won more than 70 percent of the vote in gaining renomination to second terms, and neither is expected to have much more of a problem in November. Busbee's opponent is state GOP chairman Rodney M. Cook (R), 54, and Nunn's rival is former U.S. attorney John W. Stokes (R), 53.
A poignant case of Republican frustration is found in one House race. Ex-professor Newt Gingrich (R) twice won more than 48 percent of the vote against Rep. John J. Flynt (D), but Flynt's retirement robbed him of his best issue. He is a slight underdog against state Sen. Virginia Shapard (D). KENTUCKY
SEN. WALTER (Dee) Huddleston (D), 52, is expected to breeze over state Rep. Louie R. Guenthner (R).
The main contest in the state is the House race where state Sen. Tom Easterly (D) upset Rep. John B. Breckinridge (D). When Easterly won the primary, Republicans dropped their woman candidate and substituted state Sen. Larry Hopkins (R), who has a better-than-even chance of picking up the seat. LOUISIANA
UNDER THE NEW "open primary law," Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Jr. (D), 46, won a second term and all but one of the eight representatives were reelected in September. The new law puts Democrats and Republicans on the same ballot and, where anyone wins a majority, there is no general election "runoff."
The lone contest is for the House seat of retiring Rep. Joe D. Waggoner Jr. (D). Waggoner's support gives state Rep. Claude (Buddy) Leach (D) the edge, but ex-state Rep. Jimmy Wilson (R), a right-to-work leader, is within upset range. MISSISSIPPI
THE FOCUS here is on the fascinating three-way Senate race set up by the retirement of Sen. James O. Eastland (D), Rep. Thad Cochran (R), 40, is a slight favorite to defeat former district attorney Maurice Dantin (D), 48, and black independent candidates Charles Evers, 56, and Henry Kirksey, 63. Dantin had the help of the Eastland organization in winning the nomination from Gov. Cliff Finch (D), but has had trouble consolidating Democratic support. Evers, a prominent civil rights leader, has been drawing more than 15 percent of the vote in some polls, and Dantin will have to reduce that to have a chance. Observers caution, however, that the serious campaigning is still to come.
Stennis' son, state Sen. John Hampton Stennis (D), is a slight favorite over Jon C. Hinson (R), for the House seat Cochran is leaving. NORTH CAROLINA
SEN. JESSE HELMS (R), 56, has run into a stubborn opponent, state insurance commissioner John Ingram (D), 47, and has not yet managed to lock up his second term. Helms, a nationally known conversative leader, has raised more than $5 million, largely through direct-mail solicitation, and has put a big organization into the field. But his personal campaigning has been halted since a back operation on Sept. 1 and he is not scheduled to resume stumping until late next week. Meantime, Ingram, a self-styled populist who has made a career of fighting the insurance companies, has conducted the same kind of campaign against Helms' lavish financial support that brought him an upset victory over banker Luther H. Hodges Jr. (D) in the primary. A survey taken this week and published today in the Raleigh News and Observer gives Helms a 45-to-38 percent lead.
In House races, there are serious challenges for Reps. Lamar Gudger (D), Stephen L. Neal (D) and W. G. (Bill) Hefner (D), but Republicans would count themselves fortunate to win one of the three seats. OKLAHOMA
IT LOOKS LIKE a Democratic sweep of the top races. Lt. Gov. George Nigh (D), 51, came out of the runoff primary with enough momentum to make him a clear favorite for governor over Ron Shotts (R), 32, a former Oklahoma University football star and state representative who lost a close race two years ago for the state corporation commission.
Gov. David L. Boren (D), 37, brushed off a smear campaign alleging he was a homosexual to win the nomination for the seat of retiring Sen. Dewey E. Bartlett (R). His opponent, Robert B. Kamm (R), 59, is the former president of Oklahoma State University. Democrats count Oklahoma as perhaps their surest Senate pickup.
Rep. James R. Jones (D) has a vigorous challenge from former state GOP chairman Paula Unruh (R). Democrat Mike Synar is expected to win the seat where he defeated Rep. Ted Risenhoover (D) in the primary. SOUTH CAROLINA
FORMER STATE SEN. Richard W. (Dick) Riley (D), 45, who was President Carter's 1976 state campaign manager, is expected to reclaim the governorship from the Republicans, whose incumbent, Gov. James B. Edwards (R), is ineligible to succeed himself. With united party support, Riley is well in front of ex-Rep. Edward L. Young (R), 57.
Sen. Strom Thurmond (R), 75, is leading in his bid for a fourth term in all known polls of his contest with Charles D. (Pug) Ravenel (D), 40, who was on his way to election as governor in 1974 when the courts found he did not meet the residence requirement. Ravenel has not yet mollified regular Democrats who think his neutral stance led to Edwards' victory in 1974, nor has he dislodged Thurmond from a significant minority share of the black vote. Democrats say Ravenel is still within striking range, Republicans insist that Thurmond has locked up the seat.
In key House races, Rep. Floyd Spence (R) is being pressed hard by journalist Jack Bass (D), but is believed to be leading, and a Democrat is favored slightly to hold the seat of retiring Rep. James R. Mann (D). TENNESSEE
WITH GOV. Ray Blanton (D) retiring after one term of unbroken controversy, Lamar Alexander (R), 38, the Nashville lawyer and onetime White House aide who lost to Blanton in 1974, is trying to exploit the disillusionment with Blanton. But banker Jake Butcher (D), 42, who spent $2.1 million two win a bitter Democratic primary, is spending heavily again. That fact, plus Tennessee's normal Democratic allegiance, makes this a very close race.
Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. (R), 53, the Senate minority leader and 1980 presdiential prospect, is a clear favorite for a third term over Jane Eskind (D), 45, a party and civic leader critical of his Panama vote and national ambitions. But Baker will be hard pressed to match the 61.5 percent vote he won in 1972.
No change is expected in the House delegation, with Democrats favored to retain the vacant seat of the late Rep. Clifford Allen (D). TEXAS
ATTY. GEN. John L. Hill (D), 54, who beat Gov. Dolph Briscoe (D) in the primary, is favored over former deputy secretary of defense William Clements (R), 61, a business executive who has vowed to spend $3 million in an effort to become Texas' first Republican governor. Hill is ahead in all known polls, but has showed some signs of nervousness about Clements' continuing efforts to link him to the Carter administration. Two weeks ago, Hill sharply criticized Carter's engery and farm policies and said he would find it "extremely difficult" to support him for renomination.
Sen. John G. Tower (R), 52, seeking a fourth term, has been in a tight race with Rep. Robert (Bob) Krueger (D), 42, a political moderate better able to challenge Tower than some of the senator's past liberal rivals. Some Democrats still predict an upset, but Tower's ample campaign funds and ability to hold onto a share of the Mexican-American vote make him at least a slight favorite.
With eight of the 24 House seats open, Republicans had hoped for a major breakthrough, but now would settle for a one- or two-seat gain.Democrats think they may hold their 22-2 advantage. VIRGINIA
THE RACE for the Senate seat of retiring Sen. William L. Scott (R) is just beginning, because Republicans had to find a new nominee after Richard D. Obenshain was killed in a plane crash. The new lineup pits former state attorney general Andrew P. Miller (D), 45, against former secretary of the navy John Warner (R), 51. Miller had a 6-point lead in an early poll, with one-third of the voters undecided. Virginia's recent Republican voting pattern may give Warner the edge, but most would call it a tossup today.
Rep. Herbert E. Harris II (D) is in a very tight race with Fairfax Supervisor John F. Herrity (R), and some Republicans believe Rep. Joseph L. Fisher (D) would be surprised by Frank R. Wolf's (R) quiet organization effort.