Republicans, who won the House in 2010, are hoping to take the Senate in 2012. They need a net gain of three or four seats, depending on who is elected President, as Democrats now hold a 53-47 majority.
In the last month, the GOP has strengthened its position for the 2012 elections.
Just today, there are reports that six-term incumbent Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT) will announce for the Senate this Saturday against Sen. Tester (D). Tester upset an incumbent Republican Senator in 2006 by fewer than 4,000 votes and is a top Republican target in 2012. President Obama is very unpopular in the state. Rehberg was the preferred Republican “get” in this state, and the contest becomes a toss-up.
In Vermont, there is a report this morning that state Auditor Tom Salmon (R), the son of a former Democratic governor and a former Democrat himself, indicating that he is “65 percent” leaning towards running against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). If Salmon runs, he gives the GOP a big-name candidate. Former Governor. Former Republican Governor James Douglas is also considering running
Republicans also have recruited strong potential challengers in Missouri, against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), who ousted Sen. Jim Talent (R) in 2006 by three percentage points, in very Republican Nebraska, where Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) tossed his hat into the ring in December 2010 against Sen. Ben Nelson (D), and Virginia, where former Sen. George Allen (R) has been itching for a rerun against Sen. Jim Webb (D).
In addition, one retirement, that of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), gives Republicans a nice boost even though no candidate from either party has yet to enter the contest.
All in all, early momentum is with the Republicans.