Thirty-three seats are up for grabs in the United States Senate during this election, but Notre Dame professors are still not convinced the Republican challenge to the Democratic majority will be enough to earn GOP dominance in tight races around the country. The Democratic majority in the current Senate is slim, with just 51 seats to the Republican’s 47. Political science professor Geoffrey Layman predicted the fight for the Senate majority would be closer than originally anticipated this year. “I do expect the Republicans to challenge the Democratic majority, but I think it will be very close,” Layman said. “I think six months or a year ago, there was sort of an expectation that the Republicans would almost certainly gain the majority because of the big seat gains in 2010 in the House, less so in the Senate.” Compared to 2010, when Republican candidates – especially those from the Tea Party – enjoyed sweeping success in the House of Representatives, Layman said 2012 is more favorable for the Democratic Party. In the past two years, the nation has seen slow improvements in the economy and a more positive national attitude toward the Affordable Care Act than when it was first proposed. “I think it is certainly a better year than 2010, which was an awful year for Democrats,” he said. However, more of the seats up for reelection have traditionally been held by Democrats and, with only a few states to swing for a Senate majority, the GOP has been fighting hard in election season. Twenty-three Democratic seats are on the ballot, as opposed to 10 Republican. Layman cited Missouri, Virginia and Florida as examples of states where Democrats are trying to cling to a Senate seat despite tough opposition from Republican candidates. Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida are both Democratic incumbents trying to keep their jobs, while the Virginia seat is open to new challengers from both parties after the retirement of incumbent Sen. Jim Webb. “A lot of those seats that the Democrats have to defend, a fair number of them are in red states or at least states where the Republicans are very competitive,” Layman said. Political science professor Peri Arnold also pointed to close races in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Even Indiana, traditionally a Republican state, has become a more spirited battle this year. “The fact that Indiana is contentious is a signal that the Republicans are doing less well than they expected to do originally,” Arnold said. As they make their decisions, voters’ concerns in the Senate races mirror the most important issues in the presidential race, Arnold said. “They’re worried about the economy and economic growth and jobs … so that’s a major pitch, saying, ‘Vote for me, I’ll contribute to a better economy,’” he said. “It isn’t like elections are rifle shots, one issue, one concern. But certainly the economy creates a climate.” Layman also said the economy was the most important issue for voters in 2012. However, he said some states have seen other significant conversations come up in debate. “The feasibility of national health care and sort of the size and role of the federal government have been the big issues,” he said. “Then in a couple of key races like Missouri and Indiana, abortion has unexpectedly reared its ugly head.”
Race Director, Zakari Amodu, observed at the weekend that the first and only IAAF Bronze Label race in Nigeria will live up to its billing as one of the prestigious road races in the world.“Everything is set for a good race,” begins Amodu.“The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have set requirements for us to follow as a bronze label event and I can tell you we have met all the requirements and have even moved several steps higher,” he continued. “What we are waiting for is just for the race day to be here so that we can put into practice all we have been doing in terms of keeping to the requirements.“We have met the requirement concerning the number of elite athletes that must be present for a bronze label event. In fact, we have met the requirement for a gold label event which, considered alongside other requirements which we have also met will facilitate our upgrade into a silver label event,” he further said and revealed they have met other conditions like insurance cover for the athletes, the equality of the prize money, doping controls and other requirements outlined by the IAAF.“The IAAF requested that we subscribe to a third party liability insurance policy to cover the risks for which the race organisation may be held liable, including any accident which might occur to athletes and officials and this we have done with Linkage Assurance.“The international body also requested that prize money offered to competitors, including bonuses for times achieved shall be equal for all competitors regardless of their nationality or gender – in other words prize money for places should be equal for men and women and for nationals of the host country and athletes of other nationalities. This we have also done where the prize money for the first eight finishers are the same for men and women,” Amodu explained and added that drinking/sponging and refreshment stations will be adequately staffed by competent personnel and that water and refreshments shall be provided free of charge for all participants on the course and at the finish area.“The whole course from Apana Road to Okpekpe will be closed to vehicular traffic, with the exclusion of official vehicles, for the duration of the event. The start will be traffic-free until the last runner has started and the finish will be traffic free until the last runner finishes.On doping we have appointed one of Nigeria’s foremost sports medicine practitioners, Dr Akinwunmi Amao to be our chief anti-doping officer and everything needed to ensure a dope-free race have been provided,” said Amodu who explained that athletes are always scared when they know the man heading the anti-doping unit is a no-nonsense and honest.“That’s what we have in Dr Amao. We have also provided a doping station at the finish area for the race. You can see that we are very ready for Saturday,” concludes Amodu.The Okpekpe International 10km Road Race is organised by Pamodzi Sports Marketing, a leader in sports marketing, sponsorship, hospitality and rights acquisition business with operations in Nigeria.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Organisers of the Okpekpe International 10km Road Race have restated their readiness to organise a bigger and better event on Saturday, May 7 in Okpekpe in Edo State.