In 2012, the Democrats have 23 seats up (with two independents that caucus with them) and Republicans have 10 seats. If you look at the 23 seats plus 2 for the Democrats, I would immediately remove Connecticut, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia from the list of potential pick-ups. That leaves North Dakota, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin of the currently held Democrat seats that Republicans have a chance at. That’s a list of 11 states.
With Republicans holding 47 seats in the Senate right now, they’d need to take 4 Democrat seats to take the majority back (and hold on to all of their current 47). Now of the 10 Republican seats up in 2012, I would think most are fairly easy holds except Massachusetts and Nevada. That being said, of the 11 Democrat seats that I believe are the best pick-up opportunities, Republicans need to win 6, assuming they lose Massachusetts and Nevada. Of those 11 Democrat seats, I think North Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, Virginia, Missouri and Montana are the best pick-up chances for Republicans (depending on who the eventual GOP nominees are), but if you think about it, Republicans won Senate seats in 2010 in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, so those seats could very much be in play. Even if Republicans lose Massachusetts and Nevada, and they might hold those seats, it’s not inconceivable for Republicans to pick up at least 6, if not more, seats in the U.S. Senate in 2012.
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