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With 34 days left before the election, the campaigns for the United States Senate around the country are making their final ad buys and preparing for their last mail drops. The GOP stands in pretty good shape, but needs a strong close in nine states to make a huge difference in the United States Supreme Court battles of next summer.

If John Thune, Richard Burr, Pete Coors, Tom Coburn, Bill Jones, George Nethercutt, Mel Martinez and Jim DeMint join Lisa Murkowski in the “greatest deliberative body in the world,” George W. Bush’s nominees will receive a fair hearing.

But if Erskine Bowles, Ken Salazar, Betty Castor, Tony Knowles, Inez Tennenbaum and Brad Carson join Tom Daschle, Patty Murray and Barbara Boxer in the Senate come January 2005, then expect more obstructionism and filibusters, even on nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

All nine of these races can be won by the GOP – all nine – but now is the time to dig deep for one last (or perhaps first) contribution.

Start with an online donation to John Thune’s battle to send Tom Daschle to the sidelines. The race is too close to call, and every dollar counts.

That’s also true in Alaska, where GOP incumbent Lisa Murkowski is statistically tied with the former Gov. Knowles. As with South Dakota, a contribution to Murkowski goes a long way because the audience is so small relative to large state campaigns.

Tom Coburn and Pete Coors are defending Republican seats left open by retirements in Oklahoma and Colorado. Both are strong Bush states, but the Democrats are pouring resources into the races in the hopes of reversing expected losses in the deep South.

Richard Burr is facing the deep, deep pockets of Erskine Bowles, former Clinton chief of staff, in North Carolina in the fight for the seat of retiring John Edwards. Burr is closing, but needs help in matching the endless checks Bowles writes his own campaign.

Just to the south, Jim DeMint is ahead in South Carolina, but Dems keep touting their chances. A DeMint win in the race to replace retiring Ernest Hollings may be the first big news of election night. Help make sure that happens.

Finally, three of the four states at the corners of the lower 48 have key races in play. In Washington State George Nethercutt is closing in on the silly Patty Murray. In California, a visit by Rudy, and the strong backing of Arnold, have helped Bill Jones close within striking distance of thick-as-a-brick Barbara Boxer. In Florida, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez is trying to become the first Cuban-American to enter the Senate. Both need help, as they have major markets to cover, with high costs per ad. Both are big pick-up potentials for the good guys.

Is $90 or $180 or $900 or $1,800 too much to give in order to keep the courts free of ultra-liberal obstructionism? Is that too expensive a price tag on clearing the Senate of the deadwood that made it impossible to explore for oil even as oil reached $50 a barrel? Too much to ask to give George W. Bush a Senate that will stop the politicization of the war on terror?

It will take about five or 10 minutes to visit each website and make each contribution. That’s a big commitment for busy people, as is the money from cash-strapped folks.

But it is nothing compared with the stakes. Time is very short. If at any time in the past four years you resolved to be a part of the political process, now is that time. Maybe it was when the Democrats tried to suppress the lawfully cast ballots of the military serving overseas in Florida in December of 2000. Maybe it was when Hillary held up the New York Post on the floor of the Senate with the headline “Bush Knew.”

Or maybe it was when Miguel Estrada withdrew his name from consideration for a federal judgeship, or when Democrat Charles Schumer questioned Alabama Attorney Genera David Pryor’s ability to be fair because of Pryor’s deep convictions. No matter what your boiling point was, this is the week to act to give the candidates brining reform the resources they need to get across the finish line.

And when you have done that, visit georgewbush.com and sign up for the 96-hour effort to get out the vote at the campaign’s end. Staffing the final push will make the money you have invested pay off.

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