Under a federal investigation for his ties to convicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Republican Rep. John Doolittle narrowly beat his Democratic opponent in 2006. That opponent will repeat his challenge, but Democrat Charlie Brown, a retired U.S. Air Force officer, won't be the only one picking on Doolittle this time. Fellow Republicans have called on Doolittle to step aside and at least three said they are considering opposing him in the primary.
Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney had never held elected office until landing his seat in a 2006 upset. Former state assemblyman Dean Andal hopes to return the Republican-leaning district to GOP control in 2008. Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter is leaving his congressional seat to run for president. His son Duncan D. Hunter, a U.S. Marine Corps captain, has said he will join the fray to take his father's seat.
A GOP-backed plan proposes dividing the state's electoral votes by congressional district, possibly taking away about 20 electoral votes from Democrats in this reliably blue state. But the measure, facing strong opposition, may not make it to the ballot.
2004 results: Sen. John Kerry won the state's 55 electoral votes with 54% of the vote.
With Republican Sen. Wayne Allard announcing he will not seek re-election, Rep. Mark Udall, hopes to become the state's second Democratic senator. Former GOP congressman Bob Schaffer also wants the job, and a recent poll showed the race in a dead heat. Udall's Senate run leaves a scramble for his seat, which lies in a heavily Democratic district.
Since her 2002 election, Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, perhaps best known nationally for her support of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, has won re-election by narrowing margins. She won in 2006 by less than 6,000 votes. Democrat Betsy Markey, a former staffer for Sen. Ken Salazar, is expected to oppose Musgrave.
The Democratic National Convention is Aug. 25-28 in Denver.
2004 results: President Bush won the state's nine electoral votes with 52% of the vote.
After surviving close re-elections in 2004 and 2006, Republican Rep. Christopher Shays has said he will not run again unless his party makes it worth his while — he wants the top GOP spot on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Jim Himes, a businessman, and Lee Whitnum, who wrote a book about the lavish lifestyles of hedge fund managers, are slated to compete for the Democratic nomination. Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney unseated a three-term Republican congressman by 83 votes in 2006. So far he has a significant fundraising advantage over Republican challenger Sean Sullivan, a former submarine base commander.
2004 results: Sen. Kerry won the state's seven electoral votes with 54% of the vote.
Term limits prevent Gov. Ruth Ann Minner from seeking re-election. Top Democrats in the state, including Minner, preferred Lt. Gov. John Carney Jr. to take her place, but three-term Democratic state Treasurer Jack Markell crashed Carney's coronation, announcing his candidacy in June. The primary could be hotly contested. Republicans are circulating a petition to lure former drugstore executive Alan Levin into the race. Michael Protack, an airline pilot and party outsider who has run unsuccessfully for governor and U.S. senator, is the only Republican in the race to date.