Remarkably, Democrats have held control of the U.S. Senate for the last three consecutive sessions, from 2007 through 2012. For nearly three decades, neither party has been elected to lead the Senate for four straight sessions.
Democrats, though, have a decent chance to do just that in the 113th Congress: maintain majority-party status with a margin likely as narrow as the eye-of-a-needle... but they'll need luck, savvy, and at least some prevailing political winds at their backs.
As of mid-2012, seven 2012 Senate elections are rated "Toss-Ups," including five seats held by Democrats and two by Republicans in the 112th Congress. And, in my view, a half-dozen or so more races are nearly as unpredictable as the dead-heats. If Democrats lose a net of four 2012 races, they will lose control of the Senate in the 113th Congress.
Judge for yourself. At 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing, I've pulled together a summary of all 33 U.S. Senate races on a state-by-state basis. And each Senate race synopsis is linked to an article exploring the facts, candidates, analysis, factors, and various predictions.
The seven 2012 U.S. Senate races presently rated "Toss-Ups" are:
- Florida, which pits incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson against one of several well-known Republicans
- Massachusetts, probably the most-watched 2012 Senate race, with Republican freshman Sen. Scott Brown opposed by Harvard professor and progressive favorite Elizabeth Warren
- Missouri, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill faces an uphill battle to retain her seat
- Montana, where Republicans are pouring millions into defeating incumbent Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, a farmer by trade. Tester's opponent, a staunch social conservative, is ranked the 14th richest member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Nevada, where Republican appointee Sen. Dean Heller must draw votes from the Silver State's large Hispanic population, now 26% of all state residents.
- Virginia, where former DNC Chair and former governor Tim Kaine will likely face another former governor, George "Macaca" Allen, who famously lost his 2006 senatorial run by less than 10,000 votes (out of 2.4 million).
- Wisconsin, where... well, you know. Electoral chaos reigns lately in the Badger State. On August 14, 2012, Two Democrats and four Republicans will compete in primary elections, and absolutely anything can happen.
Take a gander, and give me your thoughts: will Democrats hold the Senate in the 2012 elections, or will we be treated (subjected!) to Republican rule in the 113th U.S. Senate?