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Elections 2010: Trends & Themes To Watch On Decision Day

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 11/02/10 10:29 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:10 PM ET

Voters in all fifty states are heading to the polls on Tuesday to decide the outcome of numerous midterm election races, marking the end to a hard-fought campaign season.

Leading up to election day, buzz has swept the country about how Democratic and Republican contenders will perform in this year's political fights. Will Republicans make big gains in Senate and gubernatorial match-ups, and retake control of the United States House of Representatives? Or, will the much-hyped anti-incumbent fervor and Democratic pushback prove to have more bark than bite?

Check-out the Huffington Post's live blog coverage of the latest developments unfolding on decision day. HuffPost Pollster has the latest numbers and our Election Dashboard and 2010 Big News page are jam-packed with even more updates.

Below, a rundown on trends and themes to watch as voters take to the polls and results roll in for this year's hottest races:

Power Of Incumbency Put To The Test
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Incumbency has long been considered an advantage for candidates in office running to keep their posts. However, that notion is being put to the test on decision day in an election season that has been described as one dominated by anti-incumbent rage.

Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a two-term embattled incumbent from Arkansas, managed to defend herself against a serious primary challenge that culminated in a runoff earlier this year. Since the razor-thin win, Lincoln has consistently run behind Republican challenger John Boozman in the polls and is expected to go down as voters in her home state weigh in on the match-up on Tuesday.

In Wisconsin, Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, who early on was thought to be safe in his reelection fight, has struggled to combat anti-incumbent fervor in the final stages of his campaign. The incumbent lawmaker now faces tough odds at defeating Republican opponent Ron Johnson.

Whether 2010 truly proves to be an anti-incumbent year remains to be seen; however, going into election day the political fate of a large number of House, Senate, and gubernatorial incumbents will be put on the line.

Some of the incumbent lawmakers who have suffered primary defeats this year include: Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), Alan Mollohan (D-W.V.) and Parker Griffith (R-Ala.).
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