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US Candidates Make Last Minute Push for Votes


Republican and Democratic congressional candidates are making a furious last minute push for votes in the U.S. National elections Tuesday will determine which party controls Congress.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are at stake in Tuesday's election, along with 34 of the 100 Senate seats and 36 state governors.

Republicans are looking to keep or expand their control of the House and regain the Senate, which has been narrowly controlled by the Democrats.

The Republican's most potent political weapon in this campaign has been President Bush who has gone to several states promoting Republican candidates. One of his stops on Monday was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"And don't be afraid to talk to Democrats," he said. "There are some discerning Democrats who know the difference between lousy government and good government and they want good government."

Public opinion polls suggest that Democratic hopes to recapture the House may be fading. But with at least six Senate races around the country too close to call, Democrats are mobilizing their supporters in a last minute attempt to keep control of the Senate.

House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt says the weakened U.S. economy should help Democratic candidates around the country. He was interviewed on ABC's This Week program.

"People have lost jobs, they have lost pensions. They are worried about the future of Social Security [pension] and [the high cost of] prescription drugs," he said. "That is what all of these campaigns are run on and I am very optimistic that we are going to pick up seats in the Senate and we are going to win back the House next Tuesday."

Which party controls Congress has enormous implications both for President Bush and for opposition Democrats. Republican control of both the House and Senate would help the president press his agenda in Congress and would aid his re-election bid in 2004.

Democrats are desperate to hold the Senate as a check on President Bush. That would also allow Democrats to put forward their own policy agenda and force compromises over legislation with the White House.

In addition to the House and Senate races, 36 states elect governors on Tuesday. Democrats appear poised to make some gains in those races largely because the economic downturn has made many incumbent governors vulnerable.

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