October 2008

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A Look at the Senate

That Democrats will pick up several seats in the Senate to add to their majority is not really in doubt. What is in doubt is whether they can grab enough seats to push them into that all-valuable 60-seat territory. As the AP's David Espo writes today, despite the favorable Democratic environment out there, that's still going to be a tall order:

Democrats are overwhelmingly favored to pick up seats in Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado where Republicans are retiring.

Additionally, GOP Sens. John Sununu of New Hampshire, Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Gordon Smith of Oregon are in jeopardy. So, too, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, whose fate may rest on the outcome of his corruption trial, now in the hands of a jury in a courthouse a few blocks from the Capitol.

Even if they win all four of those races -- a tall order -- Democrats would be two seats shy of 60 and looking South to get them.

Taking a look at those Southern seats Democrats have their eyes on:

* Georgia: The RCP Avg gives incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss a 2.2-point lead over challenger Jim Martin.

* North Carolina: The RCP Avg gives challenger Kay Hagan a 2-point lead over incubment Republican Elizabeth Dole.

* Mississippi: The RCP Avg gives incumbent Republican Roger Wicker a 2.7-point lead over challenger Ronnie Musgrove.

Taking at least one of these seats is certainly doable for Democrats, particularly in North Carolina, where an Obama victory will almost certainly have coattails. But getting two will the real trick.