The Senate: Some Races Are Done … And Some Aren’t

As we enter the final week of the campaign season, which are the races that appear to be finished and which are still undetermined at this late date?

For Republicans striving to cobble together enough wins to create a net gain of 10 seats in order to wrest the Senate majority away from the Democrats, these are among a following races are secure:

  • Alabama, where Sen. Richard Shelby has been running virtually uncontested for the entire election cycle
  • Arizona, where Sen. John McCain has already won the tougher of his two campaigns: the 2010 Arizona Republican primary
  • Arkansas, proving to be a virtual certain GOP conversion as Rep. John Boozman (R-AR-3) continues to outpace embattled incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) by double digits
  • Florida, where former state House Speaker Marco Rubio generally runs about 10 points ahead of the multi-candidate field that includes Republican-turned-Independent Gov. Charlie Crist
  • Idaho, where Sen. Mike Crapo has also been running virtually unopposed
  • Indiana, another GOP conversion state as former Sen. Dan Coats (R) is poised to win again after a 12-year absence from elected politics
  • Iowa, where Sen. Chuck Grassley’s victory for a sixth term will make him the only remaining Senator to come into office with Ronald Reagan
  • New Hampshire, another key GOP open seat that former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte appears set to retain
  • North Dakota, another GOP conversion as Gov. John Hoeven will romp to victory and take retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan’s seat from the Democrats
  • South Dakota, where Sen. John Thune is running unopposed

There are other states where the GOP has a lock on a Senate seat as well: Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah.

Conversely, Democrats have nailed down the following states:

  • Delaware, as New Castle County Executive Chris Coons will easily defeat Republican Christine O’Donnell, who scored the big upset of Rep. MIke Castle (R-DE-AL) but will cost the party any chance at converting this seat
  • Hawaii, where Sen. Dan Inouye will again win the seat he has held since 1962
  • Maryland, as Sen. Barbara Mikulski has had little in the way of opposition this year
  • New York, as both Sen. Chuck Schumer and appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will easily retain their seats
  • Oregon, where Sen. Ron Wyden will win a relatively easy election in what is proving to be a difficult political climate for Democrats even in the Beaver State
  • Vermont, as Sen. Patrick Leahy, who first won his seat in the Watergate year of 1974, will again be re-elected

Now … here are the seats that are still competitive with just a week to go:

  • Colorado, as this race between appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R) has consistently been a pure toss-up since the August primary
  • Connecticut, where Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) appears set to put this seat away for the Democrats, but businesswoman Linda McMahon (R) is still showing signs of life
  • Illinois, as state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL-10) continue to battle in what is becoming the state’s closest race
  • Kentucky, where both Republican Rand Paul (R) and Attorney General Jack Conway (D) are still flagging away against each other in a close campaign
  • Nevada, because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) simply can’t put away Tea Party-backed Republican Sharron Angle (R) in a race that has been in toss-up status since June
  • Wisconsin, where Sen. Russ Feingold (D) continues to trail businessman Ron Johnson (R) in his quest for a fourth term

Others up for grabs include Alaska, California, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia.

If Republicans are to win control of the Senate, they must secure all races headed their way today, and win nine of the eleven seats that are still undetermined. With just one week to go, it looks like the GOP will make significant gains but fall short of winning absolute control of the chamber.

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