Here Are 7 Senate Races You Need To Pay Attention To In 2012

Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

With the Republican presidential primaries consuming most of our attention, it’s easy to overlook the various Senate races also taking place.But here’s a fun fact: nearly a third of the Senate will be up for grabs this November.

While some of these races will likely be landslides, others project to be much closer and could significantly alter the political landscape.

Democrats are setting their sites on several key races, hoping to reclaim their 60-vote super majority in the Senate, while Republicans look to repel their advances.

So even though we’re still more than eight months out, there are still a number of races that are worth keeping your eye on.


Where The Race Stands: George Allen (R) 46 per cent, Tim Kaine (D) 44 per cent (Rasmussen Reports, 3/21/2012)

The Virginia Senate seat is being hotly contested after Democratic senator Jim Webb said he would not seek reelection. The race is between two Virginia heavyweights in former governor Tim Kaine and former senator George Allen who lost a close race to Webb back in 2006. The race has garnered national attention and both Democrats and Republicans from out of state have pledged their support. As of now, Virginia may be the closest race around.


Where The Race Stands: Elizabeth Warren (D) 46 per cent, Scott Brown (R) 41 per cent (Public Policy Polling, 3/20/12)

Perhaps the most publicized Senate race is between incumbent Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Warren has shocked many with her incredible fundraising ability and currently sits ahead of the popular Brown. But don't count him out just yet, Brown has made a push this month and is making gains on a Warren campaign that is facing opposition within its own party.


Where The Race Stands: Tommy Thompson (R) 48 per cent, Tammy Baldwin (D) 44 per cent (Rasmussen Reports, 3/28/12)

Wisconsin is the site of another race to fill the seat of a retiring senator, Democrat Hern Kohl. As of now, the field is pretty wide open, with former Republican governor Tommy Thompson barely edging out Democratic congressman Tammy Baldwin. Republican hedge fund manager Eric Hovde has also entered the race and his millions could pose something of a challenge to Thompson.

If the Republicans can make a stand in Wisconsin, it will bring them one stop closer to halting the reemergence of Democratic majority in the Senate.


Where The Race Stands: Sherrod Brown (D) 43 per cent, Josh Mandel (R) 43 per cent (Rasmussen Reports, 3/27/12)

There's a dead heat in Ohio, and the prospects of Democrats winning the crucial swing state is in question. The news is not good for Democrats, especially considering Republican state treasurer Josh Mandel has been hit hard in recent weeks for allegedly making up facts on the campaign trail as well as neglecting his duties as treasurer. Still, Mandel has managed to fundraise considerably and has also had the help of stumping with such GOP big shots like Marco Rubio. If he can hold on, the close race is likely to carry though on to November.


Where The Race Stands: Bill Nelson (D) 44 per cent, Connie Mack (R) 36 per cent (Quinnipiac University, 3/29/12)

Democratic senator Bill Nelson is attempting to hold onto his seat in Florida against Republican challenger Connie Mack. And the latest polls show that he's managed to create some breathing room between himself and Mack, after being in a dead heat with him earlier this year.

Part of the reason can be credited to President Obama's resurgence in Florida, explained Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

'President Barack Obama's surge in Florida is helping Sen. Bill Nelson's re-election chances,' he said. 'Just as President Obama's lead in the presidential race in the Sunshine State is fuelled by female voters, so too is Nelson's. He also is running better among several groups, including whites and Catholics and voters 50 to 64 years old.'

As the race continues, however, that could change and support could still shift back to Mack, especially with 27 per cent of Independent voters saying they are undecided. Of course, Mack will have to deal with the ads calling attention to his past history of bar fights and road rage.


Where The Race Stands: Sarah Steelman (R) 51 per cent, Claire McCaskill (D) 41 per cent (Rasmussen Reports, 3/16/12)

Bad news for Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, as she currently trails all four of the potential Republican challengers in Missouri. McCaskill is in for a tough reelection campaign, especially considering how Republican the state has become since her last win in 2006.


Where The Race Stands: Dean Heller (R) 47 per cent, Shelley Berkley (D) 40 per cent (Rasmussen Reports, 3/20/12)

Republican congressman Dean Heller, who assumed office in 2009 after John Ensign resigned in disgrace, is facing a reelection campaign against Democratic representative Shelly Berkley. Both candidates have the capital and fundraising ability to carry on a fight deep into the summer. But Berkley now has to deal with a new ethics probe that could potentially damage her reputation.

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