Campaigns for the 2010 midterm elections have reflected massive transformations for several of the senatorial candidates, particularly Florida Governor Charlie Crist and former speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio, both of whom are competing for the Florida Senate seat, and Arizona Senator John McCain, the current frontrunner in the Arizona Senate race.

The first U.S. soldier in Iraq has been killed since the withdrawal of the last “combat” brigade from the country on August 18, according to the Manchester (UK) Guardian. The death demonstrates that Americans will continue to fight and die in Iraq even though President Obama publicly announced “combat operations” have officially ended. The soldier was reportedly killed in a mortar attack on a U.S. air base in Basra, and the Pentagon has not yet released the name of the deceased. The Pentagon estimates that 52,000 U.S. Army soldiers and Marines remain in Iraq.

cost of government dayCongratulations, fellow Americans! As of August 19 you are finally working for your own benefit instead of the government’s. According to Americans for Tax Reform’s Center for Fiscal Accountability, the 2010 Cost of Government Day — “the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burden imposed by government at the federal, state and local level” — fell on August 19.

health emergencyIn a March 13 op-ed for the Washington Post, President Barack Obama’s lead pollster, Joel Benenson, wrote: “When it comes to health care and insurance, once reform passes, the tangible benefits Americans will realize will trump the fear-mongering rhetoric opponents are stoking today.”

During the last sixteen years, the leaders of majority parties in the houses of Congress have been defeated twice: Speaker Foley in Washington in the 1994 election and Senate Majority Leader Daschle in the 2002 election. Senator Reid from Nevada may be the next member of Congress to discover that clout in Washington does not reflexively translate into electoral victory back home.? “Bringing home the bacon,” the ability of senior members of Congress to raid the public fisc for dubious projects back home, has long been considered a key advantage of incumbency (regardless of whether the member of Congress is a Democrat or a Republican.)?