Control of the U.S. Senate is now up for grabs in what could be one of the most competitive elections in years – and the struggle for power appears to hinge on 10 hotly contested seats that could go to either party.
Thirty-three U.S. Senate seats are now available for the taking. Democrats have 23 seats up for election, including two independents (Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is retiring, and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, who is seeking re-election) who caucus with the Democrats. Of those 23, six are retiring and 17 are seeking re-election.
Republicans have only 10 seats up for election. Two Republicans are retiring, while eight are seeking re-election. To claim a Senate majority, Republicans must gain four seats (or three to tie) in 2012.
According to the Cook Political Report, some of the biggest toss-up Senate seats include New Mexico, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, Montana, Nevada, Missouri, Massachusetts, Nebraska and North Dakota. All are controlled by Democrats, except Massachusetts, where Sen. Scott Brown is struggling to hold his favor with voters against Elizabeth Warren, who is leading in recent polls.
The Cook Political Report also rates 21 races as being to some extent competitive, five more than any of the three preceding elections.