As the fight for control over the U.S. Senate continues to heat up, a clear path for GOP victory has been identified by analysts in terms of gaining the 6 net seats required to hold a 51-49 majority in the upper house.
First, as RealClearPolitics has identified, the races in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana are almost certain victories for the respective Republican candidates, all of which are states Obama lost by double-digits.
That leaves 3 more net gains in order to win control. Obama lost four other states in which there is an on-going battle for the Senate. Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska went Republican in the last presidential cycle and represent key Senate races where the Democrat nominee is fighting for his life.
A pickup in all of these states would be enough to flip the Senate, provided the GOP doesn’t lose any incumbent races. Currently Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, the open seat in Georgia and Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas are in a tough fight to hold Republican sway.
To hedge the bets, Republicans are making a push to pickup an open seat or two in states that Obama did win. In both Iowa and Michigan, Republicans see very good opportunities to win.
Finally, there are at least three opportunities to knock-off Democrat incumbents in key pro-Obama states. In Colorado, New Hampshire and North Carolina, the incumbent Senators are either within the margin of error or giving up gains to the Republican challenger.