All eyes are on the big Senate primaries tomorrow in Arkansas, Kentucky And Pennsylvania -- but there are some other races going on, too, which could have important repercussions for the fall.
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One of the top races to watch will be the special election for the Johnstown-area district formerly held by the late Rep. John Murtha, who passed away in February. The TPM Poll Average gives Republican businessman Tim Burns an edge of 43.0%-42.4% over Democratic candidate and former Murtha aide Mark Critz. A key X-factor in the race is that Democratic turnout could be disproportionately high in this swing district, because the election is being held at the same time as the regular statewide primaries. There are far more contested Democratic primaries than Republican ones -- most notably the Senate race between incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak -- and this could disproportionately drive Dem voters to the polls.
Murtha was first elected in a 1974 special election, picking it up from the Republicans in the middle of the Watergate scandals, and held the seat for 36 years until his death in February 2010. The district voted for John McCain in 2008 byÂ a margin of less than one point -- the only district in the country to switch from John Kerry in 2004 to McCain in 2008, having voted for Kerry 51%-48% in 2004. CQ, Stuart Rothenberg, Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato all rate this race as a toss-up.