From the Toronto Star (CA):
Super Tuesday’s 10 Republican presidential contests continue to fascinate Canadians as well as Americans. We follow as voters push Mitt Romney or the anti-Romney — currently Rick Santorum — into the national lead. This drama distracts, however, from the more complicated but I would argue more interesting contest: the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.
The 100 senators serve six-year terms, a third being elected every two years. Of the 33 Senate seats up for grabs in 2012, 21 are currently held by Democrats, two by Independents who caucus with the Democrats, and only 10 by Republicans. Since Democrats currently control the Senate with a 53-47 edge, Republicans can win control by prevailing in just 14 of the 33 Senate races in 2012. Barack Obama, if re-elected, could face a Congress with Republican majorities in both chambers.
How likely is it that the Republicans can win 14 or more of the 33 Senate seats in play?
Three Republican Senators are retiring. Two are from states likely to return another Republican, Texas and Arizona. Five of the Republican senators running are considered safe. Three Republican seats, however, are toss-ups: Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine.
In Massachusetts, Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren is likely to win the Democratic nomination on Sept. 6 to face Republican Scott Brown, who was elected to fill the remaining two years of Ted Kennedy’s term.
In Nevada, Republican Senator John Ensign resigned last year amid a scandal. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval appointed Republican Congressman Dean Heller to fill the vacant Senate seat. Heller is running to be elected in his own right. Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and Barry Ellsworth, an ethanol executive, are running for the Democratic nomination to oppose Heller.