“The Sunday Political Brunch!” August 31, 2014, by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

 Twitter: @markcurtisABC6  

mcurtis@abc6.com 

(Providence, Rhode Island) – Happy Labor Day weekend to all! This marks the beginning of the final push to Election Day (or in some states such as Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, and New Hampshire – a Primary Election Day). I thought as the campaign hits the final stretch we’d “brunch” on what’s at stake and the big races around the country.

“The Grand Prize!” – The big thing up for grabs this year is control of the U.S. Senate. Right now that chamber has 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans. While that sounds like a big split, Republicans need only a net gain of 6 seats to win control. This year the GOP has a big advantage in that Democrats are defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs

“Another Comeback Kid?” – One of the most fascinating races this year involves former Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) who moved north to New Hampshire and is taking on incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The race is competitive. A recent WMUR-TV/University of New Hampshire Poll had it 46 percent for Shaheen to 44 for Brown (photo above). By the way, a number of U.S. Senators have represented two different states; one was even elected from three different states. So, Scott Brown’s comeback bid is not unprecedented.

“Nunn of the Above” – Another fun race to watch is for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, where Michelle Nunn is trying to represent the Peach State – as did her father – former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA). The race is rated as a toss up with the latest Real Clear Politics composite poll showing Republican businessman David Perdue at 46 percent to Michelle Nunn at 42 percent. But a recent Landmark Poll had Nunn up by 7 points. It’s a race to watch.

“My Old Kentucky Home” – As I have reported before, the “biggest of the big” races has Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the fight of his political life. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) is very competitive. The most recent RCP composite poll has McConnell up by a mere two percentage points. Grimes was leading in a different poll. So, the GOP could take control of the U.S. Senate this year, but in the process could lose its leader.

“Another Comeback Kid, Part II” – Some of the races for Governor are fascinating this year.  Florida is probably the biggest and oddest race. Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist switched parties and is now running to get his old job back as a Democrat. Incumbent Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) has proven unpopular in many quarters. The latest Real Clear Politics composite poll has it 44 percent for Scott and 43 percent for Crist. No matter how you slice it, this race is a toss up.

“On Wisconsin!” – The other marquee Governor’s race is in Wisconsin where controversial Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) beat a recall vote just two years ago. Now he is in a tight reelection bid against Former Wisconsin Commerce Secretary Mary Burke. The latest Marquette University Law School Poll has Burke leading at 49 percent to 47 percent for Walker. But Walker has led some of the individual polls, so mark this one as a toss up, too!

“She’s Back; He’s Back” – All of a sudden the Massachusetts race for Governor looks interesting. Attorney General Martha Coakley (D-MA) is trying to redeem herself for a disastrous campaign and loss to Scott Brown in the Senate special election nearly five years ago. She’s being challenged by Republican Charlie Baker who lost to Deval Patrick in 2010. In the very liberal Bay State, the latest poll results are surprising. A Boston Globe poll out Friday had it Baker 38 percent to Coakley at 37 percent. She had been leading in most polls, and by a healthy margin up until now. Obviously there are a lot of voters still undecided.

What close races are you watching? Let us know by clicking the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

© 2014, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy ABC News.