The usual political line is that the Democrats are in danger of losing control of the Senate, with 23 Democratic or Independent seats up for election in 2012, as compared to only 10 Republican seats.
But actually, five of the ten GOP Senate seats are in play, with Republicans on the defensive!
Maine—where retiring Senator Olympia Snowe seems likely to be replaced by Independent Angus King, former Governor of the state, thought to be likely to caucus with the Democrats if he wins, based on greater agreement with Democratic principles.
Massachusetts—where Senator Scott Brown, who replaced Ted Kennedy in 2010, is behind in many polls to consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, in a state so strongly Democratic that Brown’s victory in 2010 was seen as an outlier.
Indiana—where retiring Senator Richard Lugar may be replaced by Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly , because the GOP nominee, Richard Mourdock, has been labeled a Tea Party extremist, unwilling to work across the aisle with Democrats.
Nevada—where appointed Senator Dean Heller is having a rough race against long term Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley.
Arizona—where Senator Jon Kyl is retiring, but the Republican nominee, Jeff Flake, is facing a surprisingly tough battle against Democrat Richard Carmona. former Surgeon General of the United States. Carmona has a distinguished law enforcement and medical career, and is seen as having a really good chance to replace Kyl, and being Hispanic (Puerto Rican) in Arizona is certainly a positive, as well as his biography.
If one had to put betting money on these five races, it would be a good bet that Maine, Massachusetts, and Arizona will go Democratic in Senate races, with Indiana and Nevada tougher races.
That would mean a three seat gain for the Democrats, making it much tougher for Republicans to become a majority, as then they would need at least six to seven Democratic held seats out of 12 seats seen as in play, with 11 others of the total 23 seats seen as NOT in play!
An analysis of Democratic seats in contention will follow in the coming days!