Balance of power in Congress at stake in election

November 2, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Republicans are hopeful they can gain control of the House.

Democrat Dan Seals wants to win Mark Kirk's congressional seat badly. This is the 39-year-old's third time running in the 10th District. His opponent is Winnetka native Robert Dold. The 41-year-old is anxious to hold on to seat Republicans have held for 30 years.

"The 10th District is the wealthiest district in Illinois. It's district that has a tremendous amount of independent voters. It's a district that is trending Democratic," said Paul Green, Roosevelt University.

A Seals victory could be one of the few seats nationwide the Democrats pick up. However this year's trend is clearly Republican.

A GOP surge is making at least three Illinois Democrats very vulnerable, including 11th District incumbent Debbie Halvorson. She faces Adam Kinzinger, a 32-year-old Air Force captain from Bloomington. Halvorson was elected with the Obama sweep two years ago in the traditionally a Republican district.

"That is a very tough district because she lives in the far eastern end and she needs tremendous support coming from the Joliet-Lockport area. But even that may not be enough," said Green.

In the 14th District, Democrat Bill Foster faces a tough race against state senator Randy Hultgren. It is a seat that was former House speaker Denny Hastert's for years. Democratic losses in the 14th and 11th districts would not come as a surprise to political watchers.

"Demographically, those were two Republican districts that were won during Democratic surge and now it looks like there's a Republican surge so those districts are very much at risk," said Green.

Expected to not to be at risk are Jesse Jackson, Junior in the 2nd District, Melissa Bean in the 8th and 9th District's Jan Schakowsky. However, all three candidates face very aggressive opponents.

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