Christianity Today has identified four key races to follow on Election Night. These contests feature debates about issues of special concern to evangelicals.
The popularity and longevity of retiring pro-life Congressman Henry Hyde may have masked the demographic changes in this district in Chicago's western suburbs. The shift became more apparent in 2004 when an under-funded Democratic challenger garnered 44 percent of the vote. An influx of immigrants and educated professionals has turned many similar red districts purple.
Suburban "evangelicals haven't really abandoned conservative social issues, though they've developed a broader agenda," Green explained. "But their neighbors around have become a bit more moderate if not more liberal."
Democrats hope Tammy Duckworth will become the face of this trend. Duckworth, who lost her legs in the Iraq War, has run an outsider campaign against evangelical Peter Roskam, a state senator and former chief of staff for Hyde. Duckworth has criticized Roskam for not supporting increased federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.
"Even the fact that we talk about this as the 'stem-cell issue' is a sign that supporters of expanded funding are winning the debate of framing the issue," said Amy Black, associate professor of politics at Wheaton College. "There is a lot of promise with embryonic stem cells, a lot of hope, but the bottom line is that the only medical advances have been with adult stem cells."
That's the message Roskam hopes voters will hear, even as he denies stem cells will play a significant role in the campaign. "I've knocked on about 5,000 doors, and no one has asked about my position on stem-cell research," Roskam told CT.
But in a race this close, any issue could ...1
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