Learn about one of the races that may decide which party controls the Senate
Democrat: Ben Cardin
Where he stands on:
War in Iraq: â€œWe need to start bringing our troops home,â€ Cardin said to Tim Russert on Meet the Press on Oct. 28. Cardin disagrees with imposing a timetable, but wants to engage the international community in what he called Iraqâ€™s civil war. Having so many troops committed to Iraq jeopardizes the war on terror, he said.
Abortion: Cardin said he believes that women should have the right to choose. He agrees with parental notification laws. â€œParents should be involved in the decisions of their children,â€ he said on Meet the Press on Oct. 29. He said exceptions to parental notification laws should be made in cases of abuse.
Education: On his campaign Web site, Cardin proposed giving tax incentives to teachers who work in schools with the most need for improvement. He also wants to increase tax credits for higher education and encourage healthy eating among students.
Immigration: As a congressman, Cardin voted to extend residency rules for immigrants seeking legal residence status. He also voted to increase the number of immigrant visas for skilled workers.
Stem Cell Research: “Embryonic stem cell research is extremely important. It holds out tremendous promise,” Cardin said in a televised debate quoted by the Associated Press.
Republican: Michael Steele
Where he stands on:
War in Iraq: Steele said he wants to keep troops in Iraq, but the U.S. government needs a new strategy. He said pressure should to be placed on the Iraqi government to better police their country.
Abortion: â€œI think Roe v. Wade is a matter that should have been left to the states to decide ultimately,â€ Steele said on Meet the Press on Oct. 29. “For now,” he said, “we should continue to abide by Roe v. Wade as it stands.”
Education: Steeleâ€™s Web site details a plan to increase math and science funding for schools, allow flexibility in teachersâ€™ pay to attract the â€œbest and the brightest professionalsâ€ and partner schools with businesses to ensure that students are adequately trained when they enter the work force.
Immigration: On his Web site, Steele endorsed the Secure Fence Act, aiming to build a fence along most of the U.S.-Mexico border. His Web site also says the U.S. government should work with the Mexican government to handle the problems that cause illegal immigration.
Stem Cell Research: Steele said that embryonic stem cell research is not the most stable form of research. On Meet the Press, he said he doesnâ€™t think federal funds should be used to destroy life. He said he approved setting up adoptions for fertility clinicsâ€™ unused embryos.
What the polls say:
Cardin leads Steele by 5.3 percent across the major U.S. polls, according to RealClear politics, a political analysis Web site.
Major media moments:
After Cardin released an advertisement starring Michael J. Fox, which attacked Steele for opposing stem cell research, the Steele campaign issued an advertisement featuring Steeleâ€™s sister, who has multiple sclerosis. In the ad, Steeleâ€™s sister refuted the statement that Steele does not care about medical research, because she knows he cares about her.