The State of Senate Races 2012
Right now, there are 51 Democrats, 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats, and 47 Republicans. There are 33 seats up for re-election, 21 Democrats, 2 Independents and 10 Republicans.
* Six Democrats are retiring.
* Fifteen Democrats are running for re-election.
* One Independent who caucuses with the Democrats is retiring.
* One Independent who caucuses with the Democrats is running for re-election.
* Three incumbent Republicans are retiring.
* Seven Republicans are seeking re-election
- However one Republican (Lugar) lost in the primary.
Typically candidates who are running for reelection are safe, Seats with candidates retiring are usually the ones considered most likely to switch. In this case, with 7 Democrats (for this purpose, the independents will be lumped in with Democrats) retiring, versus 3 Republicans, coupled with the fact that the Democrats are defending 13 more seats than the Republicans, would signal the Senate is primed for a Republican takeover.
In fact, early in the year, the odds of such a take over were considered extremely high. However as the individual races have taken shape, the dynamic changed considerably.
(In Part II, I will take a closer look at the Republican safe seats.)