FACTBOX-Voter mood puts incumbent U.S. politicians at risk

WASHINGTON, May 18 (BestGrowthStock) – Incumbent U.S. Senators
Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln face tough re-election
battles on Tuesday amid a surge of anti-Washington voter anger
that threatens to sweep away incumbents from both parties in
November’s midterm elections.

Public dissatisfaction that neither the Democrats nor the
Republicans are doing enough on the economy, unemployment and
to restrain government spending have fueled anti-incumbent
sentiment that could topple some of the biggest names in U.S.
politics and put Democratic control of Congress at risk.

As the party in power, Democrats are most at risk from the
sour mood. But Republicans are also vulnerable with grass-roots
conservatives mounting several strong primary challenges to
Washington veterans.

Here is a look at some of the high-profile incumbents who
face difficult re-election bids this year, when U.S. voters
choose all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 36 of
100 senators and 37 of 50 state governors.

* Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada

Reid, the most inside of Washington insiders, would be the
biggest conquest for Republicans. They accuse him of neglecting
Nevada while battling on behalf of President Barack Obama’s
legislative agenda. Even after a heavy advertising blitz, Reid
trails potential Republican opponents by double digits in
opinion polls in a state where the economy has nosedived.

* Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona

The 2008 Republican presidential contender has been
scrambling to his right to ward off a strong primary challenge
from former Representative J.D. Hayworth, an outspoken
conservative. McCain, once a moderate on immigration, backs
Arizona’s tough new immigration law.

* Democratic Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania

Specter, who switched from the Republican Party last year,
faces a tough primary challenge on Tuesday from Democratic
Representative Joe Sestak. Sestak has closed a double-digit gap
in polls by questioning Specter’s party credentials. He is
airing an ad with the tag line: “Arlen Specter switched parties
to save one job — his, not yours.”

* Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas

The moderate Lincoln also faces a tough primary challenge
on Tuesday from Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, who has
mounted a campaign backed by labor unions unhappy with her
failure to support legislation making it easier to organize, as
well as activists unhappy with her opposition to a public
option in the U.S. healthcare overhaul.

* Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California

The sour mood has given Republicans a possible opening to
knock off the three-term liberal in a Democratic state that has
experienced a fiscal crisis, a nasty political fight over the
state budget and tax increases. The eventual Republican nominee
will emerge from a three-way primary battle on June 8.

* Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado

Bennet was a Denver public school superintendent with a
limited statewide profile when he was appointed to the Senate
last year to succeed Ken Salazar, who became the U.S. interior
secretary. Bennet has raised a lot of money but faces a tough
primary fight from a former Colorado House speaker. If he
survives, he will have a difficult race in November, although
Republicans have their own contested primary.

* Democratic Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri

The chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services
Committee has never been threatened since entering the House in
1976 but his conservative rural Missouri district voted heavily
for McCain in the 2008 presidential election and could be ready
to turn on the Democrat.

* Democratic Representative Alan Grayson of Florida

The first-term congressman who represents the Orlando area
became a favorite of left-wing blogs and a target for
conservative activists last year after he described the
Republican healthcare plan as “die quickly.” Grayson has
thrived on the attention but Republicans are counting on voters
in the swing district deciding he is too liberal.

* Republican Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana

Democrats see Cao’s victory in 2008 as a fluke. He narrowly
won in a heavily Democratic district with a majority of black
voters after Democratic incumbent Bill Jefferson was indicted
on bribery charges and the voting was delayed to December by a
hurricane, reducing turnout. In November, Cao became the only
Republican in Congress to vote for Obama’s healthcare overhaul
— but he reversed his stance on the final vote in March.

* Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry

The conservative Perry faces popular former Houston Mayor
Bill White, who Democrats consider their best candidate for
governor in years. Perry easily beat Senator Kay Bailey
Hutchison in the primary, painting her as a Washington insider
and has already started lumping White with Obama and the
Democratic Congress.

* Massachusetts Democratic Governor Deval Patrick

The surprise election of Republican Scott Brown in a
special Senate race in January proved Republicans can win in
heavily Democratic Massachusetts. That is bad news for Patrick,
a pal of Obama, who has dismal approval ratings after huge tax
increases and a series of budget battles with the state
Stock Market Advice

(Editing by David Alexander and John O’Callaghan)

FACTBOX-Voter mood puts incumbent U.S. politicians at risk