Oct 27 Voters across the United States go to
the polls next Tuesday to elect senators and representatives to
Congress in Washington, as well as state governors and
lawmakers and local officials.
While President Barack Obama is not on the ballot, the
midterm election is in many ways a referendum on his
presidency, which is under pressure from voters unhappy with
his handling of the weak economy and high unemployment.
Thousands of communities will elect mayors and city and
county officials, judges, sheriffs and fill other local
In many areas, voters will also voice their opinions on
specific initiatives -- from raising or cutting state and local
taxes to California's question of whether marijuana should be
legalized and taxed.
Here are the numbers:
* Senate - Thirty-seven of the seats are up for election,
of which 19 are now held by Democrats and 18 by Republicans. In
the 100-seat chamber, Democrats now control 59 seats to 41 for
Republicans. Republicans are expected to gain seats but neither
party is expected to win the 60 needed to stop the other from
blocking legislation with the tactic known as a filibuster.
One-third of the Senate is elected every two years for six-year
* House of Representatives - All 435 seats are up for
election for two-year terms. Democrats now hold 255 seats to
178 for the Republicans, with two vacancies. Republicans look
set to surpass the magic 218 seats needed to wrest the majority
In both chambers, the majority party determines what and
when legislation is brought to a vote and chairs all
* Governors - Elections in 37 states, of which 19 are now
held by Democrats and 18 by Republicans. Only 13 governors are
seeking re-election. Democrats are expected to wind up with
fewer than their current 26 governorships to 24 for
* State legislatures - Variations in state election laws
and state governments mean 46 states are holding elections for
88 of 99 state chambers. Democrats now hold an edge in state
legislatures but Republicans are expected to make inroads.
Party control of governorships and state legislatures takes
on national importance this year, when states get to redraw
U.S. congressional districts. The party in power can set
boundaries to favor its candidates in elections for the next
* Ballot measures - Local initiatives and referendum
elections will be presented to voters in 36 states. Most
concern changes in tax laws, bond issues, state budgets or
California's Proposition 19 would legalize marijuana for
personal use and permit local governments to tax it. Several
other states are considering changes in marijuana laws as well
as rules on hunting, animal rights and liquor sales.
(Reporting by Jackie Frank; Editing by John O'Callaghan)