When voters head to the polls on Tuesday, there’s a lot at stake both locally and nationally, with a number of hotly-contested races.
In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner spent Monday traveling the state in one final campaign push to try to separate themselves from the other while Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight predicts Quinn will win.
Nationally, the Florida governor’s race between former Republican Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott is as tight as can be. Control of the Senate also is up for grabs.
With all of the various storylines, it’s a lot to take in.
Here’s (mostly) everything you need to know heading into Tuesday’s midterm election:
- Voters have embraced early voting in suburban Cook County, with the the clerk’s office saying it’s up 53 percent from four years ago.
- In Illinois, you can vote from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Unsure of where to go? Find your polling place by putting in your name and ZIP code at the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Even if you have yet to register, you can do it on Tuesday.
- Not only will Illinois voters be choosing a candidate in a number of races, they’ll also will be weighing in on five rare ballot questions, including ones focusing on minimum wage and a millionaire tax.
- Figuring out who to vote for in judicial races can be tricky. Here’s your guide to voting for Cook County judges, with candidate ratings from numerous local bar associations.
- If you guide your decisions based on endorsements, we’ve kept score of them from major newspapers around the state.
- Where do the candidates stand on the issues? We have the breakdown in the following races: governor, treasurer and comptroller, and U.S. Senate. We also have candidates’ survey responses, so dive right in.
- Still unsure of who you’re going with for governor? They have a personal plea for you. Specfically, ‘Why Illinois needs me — and not those other guys.’
Even though Vice President Joe Biden is confident Democrats will hold onto control of the Senate, it could be a big night for Republicans. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight says Republicans have a 76 percent chance of taking over the Senate. And a tea party group has put on the full-court press with robocalls, urging Republicans to get out to vote to make “Barack Obama cry.”
Republicans also have put significant effort into turning this election into a referendum on Obama’s presidency.
“This is really the last chance for America to pass judgment on the Obama administration and on its policies,” Mitt Romney said in a message echoed by Republicans across the country over the weekend.
- Governors across the nation are struggling to keep their seats, and there are five key things to watch for as the day progresses.
- Republicans need to gain six net seats to get control of the Senate. Three, in states where Democrats are retiring, seem nearly certain: West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota. Republican are looking to flip seats in Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, New Hampshire, Alaska and Louisiana. In all, 36 seats are being contested.
- Of the hotly-contested Senate races, two of them are in Kentucky and Iowa. Republican Joni Ernst is hoping grease her way to a win over Bruce Bailey thanks to her hog castrating ads. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has a lot riding on Tuesday’s outcome against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. If it’s a good night, he could become the majority leader — and if it’s a bad night, he could be unemployed. In Colorado, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Rep. Cory Gardner are in a fierce race, as are Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Bob Beauprez.
- No one doubts the GOP will keep control of House; the question is how many seats they’ll gain.
- According to the Center for Responsive Politics, an estimated $4 billion will have been spent on this election.
- There is a Bush on the ballot, but not the one you’re thinking of. George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is running for Texas land commissioner.
- Many of the nation’s incumbent state CEOs are vulnerable, more so than usual. A half-dozen Republican governors who swept into office, some with tea party support, in 2010 are struggling to hang onto office.
- Once the voting is over, how (and when) are winners declared in races? It’s all about having good data to analyze.
- Marijuana measures are on the ballot in three places: Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C.
- Do you need an ID to vote? This interactive chart breaks down voter ID laws by state.
CONTRIBUTING: ASSOCIATED PRESS