Democrats are trying to retake control of Congress, which Republicans wrested away in 1994 after 40 years of Democratic majorities. In the Senate, 34 of the 100 seats are contested; all 435 House seats are up for grabs.
A key Senate race that evangelicals and profamily groups will be watching closely in November is in Kansas for Bob Dole's open seat. The race pits pro-life social conservative Republican Rep. Sam Brownback against Wichita stockbroker Jill Docking, a supporter of abortion rights. In a primary, Brownback, a Methodist, upset Republican party establishment appointment Sheila Frahm, an abortion-rights supporter.
In Illinois, abortion is a key factor in the contentious race for retiring Democratic Sen. Paul Simon's seat. Democratic candidate Rep. Richard Durbin, a six-term House officeholder, voted against the ban on partial-birth abortions. Republican opponent Al Salvi is a conservative Catholic who shocked gop party officials by defeating Lt. Gov. Bob Kustra in the primary.
Pro-family groups say the Defense of Marriage Act could be a major factor in Iowa Rep. Jim Lightfoot's challenge to veteran Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Lightfoot, a Republican, supported the bill in the House, while Harkin is expected to offer amendments to weaken the legislation when it reaches the Senate.
HOUSE RACES: Three out of four evangelicals cast votes for Republican House candidates in 1994, up from 54 percent in 1992. But it could be the Catholic vote that determines whether the gop retains control of Congress this November. Two years ago, 53 percent of Catholics voted Republican in House races, the first time the gop had ever received a majority from them (only 38 percent voted Republican in 1992).
"Catholic support for Republican House ...1