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Control of Congress Up for Grabs

Part 2: The Senate Races
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In the Senate, the majority party controls leadership positions. Control of 60 Senate seats gives a party an "extraordinary majority" and the power to vote to end filibusters.

Currently, Republicans hold a 54-46 advantage in the Senate. A total of 34 seats are up for election on November 7, of which, 19 are currently held by Republicans and 15 by Democrats. A net gain of 5 seats would give the Democrats a one seat advantage in the Senate.

Of the 34 incumbents, five senators -- four Democrats and one Republican -- are not seeking re-election.

In Missouri, the late Gov. Mel Carnahan -- a Democrat -- was running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Sen. John Ashcroft. On Oct. 16, Carnahan died in a plane crash. Carnahan's name remains on the ballot and Missouri's new Governor, Roger Wilson, has stated that should the late Mel Carnahan receive more votes on Nov. 7 than Ashcroft, he will appoint Carnahan's widow, Jean Carnahan, to fill the Senate seat until the 2002 elections.

Of the 34 seats up for election, only about half have serious races. According recent polls, four seats currently held by Democrats appear vulnerable, while Republican incumbents face stiff competition in as many as eight races.

Key Races
Races in which incumbent Senators face stiff competition.

Virginia - Democratic incumbent Sen. Charles Robb vs. Republican, George Allen

Michigan - Republican incumbent Sen. Spencer Abraham vs. Democrat Debbie Stabenow

Minnesota - Republican incumbent Sen. Rod Grams vs. Democrat Mark Dayton

Pennsylvania - Republican incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum vs. Democrat Ron Klink

Washington - Republican incumbent Sen. Slade Gorton vs. Democrat Maria Cantwell

Montana - Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns vs. Democrat Brian Schweitzer

Delaware - Republican incumbent Sen. William Roth vs. Democrat Thomas Carper

Rhode Island - Republican incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee vs. Democrat Robert Weygand

Races With No Incumbent
These races, in which the incumbent Senator is not running for re-election, are considered "up for grabs."

Nebraska - Democrat Ben Nelson vs. Republican Don Stenberg (Seat was held by Democrat, Bob Kerrey)

New Jersey - Democrat Jon Corzine vs. Republican Robert Franks (Seat was held by Democrat, Frank Lautenberg)

Nevada - Democrat Edward Bernstein vs. Republican John Ensign (Seat was held by Democrat, Richard Bryan)

New York - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton vs. Republican Rick Lazio (Seat was held by Democrat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan)

Florida - Democrat Ben Nelson vs. Republican Bill McCollum (Seat was held by Republican, Connie Mack)

Graph showing majority control of House and Senate since 1973
From US Liberals Guide Lisa Tolin.


 

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