While most of the public and media attention has been focused on the vigorous Republican Party brawl to nominate a candidate to oppose President Barack Obama, things are hopping along in the contest to see which party will control the Senate in 2013.
While Republicans have a numerical advantage – they only have 10 seats to defend while Democrats have 23 – control of the Senate is more like a jump ball because there are so many very tight Senate contests.
Take Virginia: Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen have been tied in every credible poll for months and are likely to remain tied into November.
Or Montana: Democratic Senator Jon Tester and Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg are similarly tied and are likely to remain so.
Or take two seats that Democrats hope to snatch away from Republicans and are in similar close competition. In Massachusetts, Democrat Elizabeth Warren started out as the underdog to Senator Scott Brown but has pulled into an even race. In Nevada, Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley is neck-and-neck with Republican Senator Dean Heller.
Other states have very tight races as well, including Missouri and Wisconsin.
And many other contests could swing one way or another in the next nine months.
In past elections, most of the close contests have gone to one party or another and usually tipped the balance of power. While President Obama’s political fortunes have picked up in recent months and Republicans have engaged in self-destructiveness, a win by Obama may be enough to keep the Senate in Democratic hands.
But should the Republican nominee for President win a solid victory in November, it may help to ensure a Republican Senate.
Council for a Livable World is involved in most of the close contests. We have endorsed and fundraised for a number of extraordinary Senate candidates across the country. That list is below.
We are also considering endorsements in several other key contests, including Arizona, Connecticut and North Dakota.
Control of the presidency is vital. But so too is control of the Senate, particularly to fend off outrageous legislation from the tea party-dominated House of Representatives.
Want my prediction of the outcome? Sorry, you will have to wait until November.
Council for a Livable World Senate endorsements for 2012
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)