State-by-state lookahead: What's at stake in 2008

The unexpected retirement of Rep. Jim Ramstad has turned what might have been an easy Republican re-election into a tossup. State Rep. Erik Paulsen is the leading Republican contender for the seat; state Sen. Terri Bonoff is the leading Democrat. The Republican National Convention will be held Sept. 1-4 in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

2004 results: Sen. Kerry won the state's 10 electoral votes with 51% of the vote.

Mississippi

Republican Rep. Chip Pickering will retire, but his seat, which lies in a heavily Republican district, is likely to stay under that party's control. Sen. Thad Cochran, a Republican, said he will announce a decision on a re-election bid soon. If he does not run, Pickering might run for the seat. Former state attorney general Mike Moore is considered the top Democratic prospect should Cochran leave the Senate.

2004 results: President Bush won the state's six electoral votes with 59% of the vote.

Missouri

Republican Gov. Matt Blunt has been in the sights of his Democratic rival since Blunt's first year in office; state Attorney General Jay Nixon formed a campaign committee in 2005. Blunt, averaging almost one public appearance a day, has been far more visible than Nixon, who has averaged about one a month, but the race is expected to be close. Vice President Cheney pitched in on Republican Rep. Sam Graves' re-election run, appearing at a September fundraiser. Graves is facing Democrat and former Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes.

2004 results: President Bush won the state's 11 electoral votes with 53% of the vote.

Montana

President Bush carried the state in 2004, but Democrats hold the governor's mansion and both Senate seats, and Republicans look unlikely to change that in 2008. Sen. Max Baucus' only challenger to date is former state House majority leader Michael Lange, who was forced out by fellow Republicans after calling Gov. Brian Schweitzer an S.O.B. in a profanity-laced rant in April. No Republican has yet entered the gubernatorial race.

2004 results: President Bush won the state's three electoral votes with 59% of the vote.

Nebraska

The retirement of GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel could make for a competitive race. Former governor and former U.S. Agriculture secretary Mike Johanns picked up an endorsement from fellow Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, which could help him against Republican hopefuls including Attorney General Jon Bruning and businessman Pat Flynn. Democrats had hoped to recruit former senator Bob Kerrey to the race, but he recently said he won't run.

2004 results: President Bush won the state's five electoral votes with 66% of the vote.

Nevada

Democrats are targeting Republican Rep. Jon Porter after a 2006 race in which he narrowly beat a 30-year-old, first-time candidate. Robert Daskas, a prosecutor, and Andrew Martin, an accountant, are competing to oppose Porter, who has been boosted by a fundraiser with Vice President Cheney. Nevada's Jan. 19 presidential caucuses are garnering more attention from presidential candidates than in the past.

2004 results: President Bush won the state's five electoral votes with 50% of the vote.

New Hampshire

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