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6 Races That Will Decide Who Controls the Senate

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Virginia: Former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) vs. Former Sen. George Allen (R) (Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., retiring)

Virginia represented one of the two best Republican pick-up opportunities among the seven closest states. Jim Webb had narrowly defeated George Allen in the 2006 Democratic wave election, and with Webb retiring, the seat was seen as ripe for the GOP, especially after the 2010 Republican sweep.

It hasn’t quite turned out that way. Former Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine has run a tough race, and holds a narrow lead in the RealClearPolitics average.

Kaine is considered the odds-on favorite at this point, but the race is still close enough to give Republicans hope. It seems unlikely, but this seat would seem to be a must-win if Republicans hope to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats.

Indiana: Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) vs. State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) vs. Andrew Horning (Lib.) (Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., lost in primary)

This race was not on anyone’s radar when people first started looking at the map last year. That’s because it was considered a lock for Dick Lugar, who had been first elected to the Senate in 1976.

Lugar had a reputation as a tough-but-fair conservative who was willing to cross the aisle to get things done. In 2012, among Republicans, that represented a serious liability. Challenged from the right by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, Lugar ended up losing his seat in the primary, opening up an opportunity for a Democratic pick-up.

Blue Dog Democrat Joe Donnelly traded leads with Mourdock in the polls throughout September and October with Mourdock holding the slight edge. The race took a sharp turn in late October, when Mourdock, during a debate, defended his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

Saying that rape was “horrible,” Mourdock nonetheless added that when a woman beomes pregnant as a result of rape, that is “something God intended to happen.”

The comment was reminiscent of Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” statement, and instantly hurt Mourdock. Donnelly, who is pro-life, but favors exceptions for rape and incest, has led by between 3 and 11 percent in polls taken since. Polling is complicated somewhat by Libertarian Party challenger Andrew Horning, who has polled as high as 6 percent.

Needless to say, it becomes difficult for Republicans to retake the Senate should Mourdock lose. If so, this will represent yet another senate seat that Republicans sacrificed in a bid for ideological purity.

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68 comments

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4:01AM PST on Nov 16, 2012

thanks

5:57PM PST on Nov 8, 2012

Just happy that all the women won; maybe now, some of those horrible attacks on women will stop.

5:52PM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Sharon H stated succinctly; "It's over, you lost", now move on. You have been wrong ever since you started posting here, and now it's time to lick your wounds and go back to the swamp. We'll get back the majority in Congress in 2014.

1:55AM PST on Nov 7, 2012

GRATULATION USA! It can now ONLY go forward! :-) I have a feeling that this time "both side" in a while will work together. IT IS the only option. By working together NOTHING will be inpossible. "Both side" can THEN take the credit and both can be a part of the new world. It will then be NO "THEY and US". And that goes for democrats and republic, USA and World, You and I. The future is bright....................

8:51PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

go Elizabeth!

8:44PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

Hats off to my grrl, Elizabeth!!! Go get 'em!

8:40PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

Now please pack your stuff and GTFO!

8:30PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

Elaine and all the rest of you T-baggers....IT'S OVER!!! YOU LOST!!!!!

7:17PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

More like political affiliation rather than races that are going to determine who wins.

4:26PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

If a voter is so stupid to check the person they do not want then press “NEXT” without alerting the authority, then they deserve what they get.

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