Republicans’ Hopes Rise
The Washington Post
In the battle for control of the US Senate, there are now at least eight critical contests in which polling shows essentially a dead heat, encouraging Republicans’ hopes that they may yet snag the chamber, which very recently seemed beyond their reach.
Some of the GOP boost is coming from the top of the ticket in the form of Mitt Romney, whose recent surge in the polls seems to be helping Republican candidates across the country.
Democrats still have an edge in their effort to keep control of the Senate, ...but both parties agree that many of the most important races have become more competitive in recent days, and their outcomes harder to predict.
Senate contests in the presidential battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Virginia, where Democrats had leads in polls a few weeks ago, are now essentially even and could be especially influenced if Romney performs well in those states. Polls show Democratic incumbents in Ohio and Florida still ahead, but those races have tightened as Romney has gained ground in the states. And the Senate races in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, long thought to be safe wins for Democrats, have become real contests.
The parties and independent groups are now investing heavily in a remarkably long list of states stretching from Maine to Hawaii.
To take control of the Senate, Republicans will need a net gain of four seats if President Obama is reelected, but only three if Romney wins. In that case, Paul Ryan, as Romney’s vice president, would become the Senate’s tiebreaking vote.
To be sure, the Republican road to the majority remains a high-wire act requiring GOP candidates to catch almost every break in the last days of the campaign. It begins with the 37 Senate Republicans who are not on the ballot this year and the five GOP nominees in conservative states, including Texas and Wyoming, who are running essentially uncontested races.
Add Nebraska, where polls show Republican Deb Fischer well ahead of Democratic former senator Bob Kerrey, and before the polls even open on Election Day, Republicans can count on having 43 votes in the Senate next year.
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