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Smart Politics Projections: U.S. Senate

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Divided country could have equally divided U.S. Senate in 2011

Current partisan split
Democrats: 57
Republicans: 41
Independents: 2

On the ballot
Total Democratic seats: 19
Total Republican seats: 18

Incumbents
Democratic incumbents: 12
Open Democratic seats: 7
Republican incumbents: 11
Open Republican seats: 7

Unchallenged seats
No Democrat on the ballot: 1 (South Dakota)
No Republican on the ballot: 0

Analysis
With several races considered by many D.C. analysts still falling into the 'toss-up' category late in the election cycle, the balance of power in the U.S. Senate will undoubtedly be one of the most important story lines to watch Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning.

It is quite likely, with horserace polling in so many Senate matchups finding candidates within just a few points of each other, that a few of these candidates who are purportedly 'ahead' will end up defeated on Election Day.

Add to that the high drama taking place in Alaska between two Republicans - one off and one on the ballot - and U.S. Senate races may very well take center stage even as Republicans rack up many gubernatorial seats and dozens of U.S. House pick-ups.

Projections
Alabama. Richard Shelby (GOP hold)
Alaska. Joe Miller (GOP hold)
Arizona. John McCain (GOP hold)
Arkansas. John Boozman (GOP pick-up)
California. Barbara Boxer (Democratic hold)
Colorado. Ken Buck (GOP pick-up)
Connecticut. Richard Blumenthal (Democratic hold)
Delaware. Chris Coons (Democratic hold)
Florida. Marco Rubio (GOP hold)
Georgia. Johnny Isakson (GOP hold)
Hawaii. Daniel Inouye (Democratic hold)
Idaho. Mike Crapo (GOP hold)
Illinois. Mark Kirk (GOP pick-up)
Indiana. Dan Coats (GOP pick-up)
Iowa. Chuck Grassley (GOP hold)
Kansas. Jerry Moran (GOP hold)
Kentucky. Rand Paul (GOP hold)
Louisiana. David Vitter (GOP hold)
Maryland. Barbara Mikulski (Democratic hold)
Missouri. Roy Blunt (GOP hold)
Nevada. Sharron Angle (GOP pick-up)
New Hampshire. Kelly Ayotte (GOP hold)
New York. Chuck Schumer (Democratic hold)
New York (special). Kirsten Gillibrand (Democratic hold)
North Carolina. Richard Burr (GOP hold)
North Dakota. John Hoeven (GOP pick-up)
Ohio. Rob Portman (GOP hold)
Oklahoma. Tom Coburn (GOP hold)
Oregon. Ron Wyden (Democratic hold)
Pennsylvania. Pat Toomey (GOP pick-up)
South Carolina. Jim DeMint (GOP hold)
South Dakota. John Thune (GOP hold)
Utah. Mike Lee (GOP hold)
Vermont. Patrick Leahy (Democratic hold)
Washington. Dino Rossi (GOP pick-up)
West Virginia. Joe Manchin (Democratic hold)
Wisconsin. Ron Johnson (GOP pick-up)

Partisan shift: GOP +9
Partisan control: Tie (Democratic tie-breaker)

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Remains of the Data

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Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


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