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10 races to watch

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Nevada Senate: Majority leader Harry Reid's tight race with Sharron Angle, darling of the tea party, is 2010's marque matchup. An Angle win would not only vanquish a Democratic shogun but an Obama ally. Reid suffers from being a Washington insider in a year of the outsider and a listless Nevada economy. But Angle's early lead vanished with some impolitic statements and far right views.

California governor: Jerry Brown (D) bills himself as a Mr. Fix-it whose political experience uniquely qualifies him to plug everything leaking in California. Meg Whitman (R), the rich former chief executive officer of eBay, sees her business background as the right tool kit. It's the public versus the private sector in a year of antipathy toward government and corporate America.

Florida governor: Democrats hope Alex Sink's business résumé – former bank executive and the state's chief financial officer – wins them the governorship after a 16-year absence. But she faces a tough challenge in Rick Scott (R), a wealthy former health-care executive. The race may turn on Florida's large number of independents.


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