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Either Party Could Win The Senate, Republicans Poised To Win House

Michelle Toh |
November 4, 2012 | 1:27 p.m. PST

Assistant News Editor


Tea Party Leaders, including Michele Bachmann, face a tough battle for re-election in this year's House race (Creative Commons)
Tea Party Leaders, including Michele Bachmann, face a tough battle for re-election in this year's House race (Creative Commons)
Despite being considered a "sure-fire bet to lose the Senate" earlier this year, Democrats remain optimistic in the final days of their campaign to defend their 53-47 majority.

This year's race for Senate was initially seen as a Republican year, with Democrats facing the task of defending 23 seats, an arduous number compared to the Republicans' 10.

Two Republican senators are retiring in reliably red states, while seven Democratic senators announced their retirement last year in more vulnerable locations. 

The retirement of Nebraska's two-term incumbent Ben Nelson, for example, "qualitatively changes things for Democrats," according to Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst for the Cook Political Report. Nelson is the only Democrat currently elected to statewide office in Nebraska. This year, Democrat and former governor Bob Kerrey will go against Republican Deb Fischer. 

The Democrats' optimism is in large part due to GOP candidates' mistakes. The"self-inflicted wounds" of Missouri and Indiana representatives Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock caused enough damage to give their opponents an edge in the race. The two candidates made controversial statements on rape and abortion, with Mourdock going on to declare that he believed bipartisanship was the Democrats joining the Republicans to "roll back the size of government." 

Since then, the two contenders have plummeted in the polls. Rep. Joe Donnelly currently holds an 11-point lead over Mourdock, and Sen. McCaskill is leading Akin by 4.

"Losing those two seats was inconceivable to Republicans a year ago," Michael McAuliff wrote in the Huffington Post

A New York Times graphic identifies the eight toss-up states for Senate seats as Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Congressional Politico polls conducted by George Washington University have indicated a narrow one percent lead for Republicans. Right now, the numbers are too close to tell. 


The House of Representatives offers a slightly different story, with 228 seats predicted for Republicans and 183 for Democrats.

"There is little doubt that Republicans are going to retain control of the House in next week's congressional elections," said a Wall Street Journal article on Saturday.  

However, Tea Party Republicans have been challenged in tight races by opponents who are insisting their views are too extreme. In Minnesota, Michele Bachmann's Democratic competitor, Jim Graves, has directed his efforts to declaring her "distracted by her own celebrity" from her short presidential run. 

"Bachmann’s bizarre presidential run only highlighted what an awkward fit she is for the common sense civility that characterizes 'Minnesota Nice,'" the Daily Beast wrote. 

In California's 36th District, Rep. Mary Bono Mack has won eight terms. The Republican, however may not win again since she angered Latinos when she said she would reach out to them after the election. "This election, I’m a little bit hamstrung," she said. "We're missing a big opportunity." 

Her suggested complacency may have been a contributing factor to a Democratic poll showing Raul Ruiz at a six-point lead over Bono Mack. 

"Latinos should not be labeled a 'big opportunity'. We are people not a commodity," one person commented on a Desert Sun article. 

"'Haven't done it in a decade, but I promise to do it right after the election.' She can't be serious. Donald Trump has more credibility," another wrote.

Another exciting House race will take place in Georgia where "the last white Democrat laboring in the Deep South," Rep. John Barrow, will fight for his fifth term in an increasingly Republican district. An opponent of President Obama's health care policy, he has sought to distance himself from the Party. 

Former State Sen. Richard Tisei will also face off in Massachusetts's 6th District against eight-term Democrat John F. Tierney, whose campaign has been weakened by the emergence of his family's ties to tax fraud. Tisei, an openly gay Republican and supporter of abortion rights, is projected to have a strong lead heading into the polls.


Reach Assistant News Editor Michelle Toh here



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