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The Key Race to Watch this Tuesday

Tuesday brings some key Senate primary races across the country, but the contest that could actually give the best reflection of election results to come this November is a special election for the House of Representatives, CBS News Chief Political Consultant Marc Ambinder said today on "Washington Unplugged."

The race to fill the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha's seat in the 12th congressional district of Pennsylvania is "a race that has all the features of the contests we'll see in the fall," Ambinder told Unplugged host John Dickerson. "It's essentially a referendum on the economy, whose at fault for it and which solutions are the best."

Republican Tim Burns is running an "anti-Washington, anti-Democrat, anti-Obama campaign," Ambinder continued, while Democrat Mark Critz is "running on the fact that it's Republican policies that got us into this mess."

This election year is unique, he said, because most voters are fed up with Washington, but there is still support for President Obama. However, in Pennsylvania's 12th district, the president's approval rating is low enough for prognosticators to call the special election for Burns, the Republican.

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"If the Republican doesn't [win], I think us pundits in Washington are going to have to revise our thinking about whether this is a wave election year for Republicans," Ambinder said.

Watch the discussion above, along with a report on the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary from CBS News' Fernando Suarez and remarks from GWU speaker Zoe Petkanas about Michelle Obama's commencement speech.

"Washington Unplugged,"'s exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.

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