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Top 5 Races to Watch in the Midwest

The Midwest has traditionally been the land of the House races. But the open Senate seat in Michigan is unlikely to become very competitive, and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is closer to making his race a laughingstock than Republicans are to defeating him.

But the region is filled with competitive House races, most of which Democrats must win to get to the majority. Here are the top five races in the Midwest next year:

Illinois’ 13th District. Democrats love their likely nominee, former Madison County Circuit Court Chief Judge Ann Callis. And they want to defeat freshman Rep. Rodney Davis to complete their set of districts they redrew before the 2012 elections following the decennial redistricting. Davis also is being challenged by former Miss America Erika Harold, a Harvard graduate and attorney, in the primary. This should be one of the top races anywhere in the country. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Toss-Up/Tilt Republican. Read the full Rothenberg Political Report analysis here ($).

Indiana’s 2nd District. Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican, managed to make her 2012 race closer than it needed to be. Democrat Brendan Mullen is eyeing a rematch but can’t afford to make running for Congress his full-time job. He could join the race later in the year. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Republican.

Minnesota’s 8th District. Rep. Rick Nolan of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is starting his second stint in Congress after defeating then-Rep. Chip Cravaack last year. His Iron Range district leans Democratic, but Republicans might nominate Stewart Mills. He doesn’t exactly fit the stereotypical GOP mold and could have enough crossover appeal to make Nolan’s life very difficult. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Democrat.

Illinois’ 10th District. Former Rep. Robert Dold is seeking a rematch with freshman Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat, in this suburban and exurban Chicago district. Republicans held the region for years with Mark S. Kirk and then Dold, but now that the seat has fallen into Democratic hands, they might not get it back. Next year will be the test. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Democrat.

Minnesota’s 2nd District. Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s retirement took her district off the competitive map, so Democrats are targeting Rep. John Kline instead. He isn’t on the verge of defeat, but if polls of his race tighten, Democrats may be succeeding in their effort to broaden the playing field. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Republican Favored.

Which races would you add to or subtract from the list?

Note: The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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