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

Democratic Gov. Mike Easley is barred from re-election by term limits, and the race for his seat could be very competitive. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and state Treasurer Richard Moore are competing for the Democratic nomination. Republican hopefuls include state Sen. Fred Smith, attorney Bill Graham and former state Supreme Court justice Robert Orr.

After falling about 300 votes shy of upsetting Republican Rep. Robin Hayes in 2006, Democrat Larry Kissell, a teacher, will challenge Hayes again. Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler, a retired NFL quarterback, won his seat in a 2006 upset over Republican Charles Taylor. Taylor has yet to say whether he'll run. State Sen. Kay Hagan and Jim Neal, a corporate financial adviser who has never held elected office, will meet in the Democratic primary for the right to derail Sen. Elizabeth Dole's bid for re-election.

2004 results: President Bush won the state's 15 electoral votes with 56% of the vote.

North Dakota

Republican Gov. John Hoeven will seek to become only the second person in state history to hold the governor's mansion for 12 years and the first to win three four-year terms. Hoeven is considered a strong favorite over his only declared opposition, state Sen. Tim Mathern.

2004 results: President Bush won the state's three electoral votes with 63% of the vote.

Ohio

A number of competitive House races could impact the balance of power in Congress. Republican Reps. Deborah Pryce and Ralph Regula will not seek re-election. Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, a Franklin County commissioner, lost a close race against Pryce in 2006 and looks to be the 2008 favorite with no Republican candidate yet declared. Competition for the seat Regula will have held for 36 years should be stiff. State Sen. Kirk Schuring is running to replace Regula and state Sen. Ron Amstutz, a fellow Republican, could also run. Democratic state Sen. John Boccieri is also running.

In addition to the close open seat races, some incumbents might have tough re-election fights. Rep. Zack Space, a Democrat in a Republican-leaning district, is in the sights of three GOP hopefuls, including former Ohio Department of Agriculture director Fred Dailey. After garnering only 52% of the vote in his 2006 re-election, Republican Rep. Steve Chabot is being targeted by Democratic state Rep. Steve Driehaus.

2004 results: President Bush won the state's 20 electoral votes with 51% of the vote.

Oklahoma

Sen. James Inhofe has drawn the ire of environmental groups by calling global warming a "hoax," but that's not likely to hurt the Republican's re-election chances. His only Democratic challenger thus far is first-term state Sen. Andrew Rice.

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

Oregon

Sen. Gordon Smith is the only Republican holding statewide office in Oregon. State House Speaker Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick, a lawyer and activist, will compete for the Democratic senatorial nomination. Smith's $4 million campaign war chest dwarfs those of his Democratic opponents.

2004 results: Sen. Kerry won the state's seven electoral votes with 52% of the vote.

Pennsylvania

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