Fallout from candidate’s rape comment dampens Republican hopes for winning US Senate
Republican chances of capturing control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections could be dimming, amid signs that the party’s candidate in the state of Indiana has fallen behind after his incendiary remarks about rape and pregnancy.
Republicans have little margin for error in their quest to win control of the Senate from the Democrats, and controlling the upper chamber will be essential for either President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney to get their agenda through Congress, where Republicans control the House of Representatives. Republican failure in Indiana, combined with the likely loss of a seat in Maine and quite possibly in Massachusetts, would put the party in a deep hole. Democrats control the Senate by a 53-47, so Republicans need a net pickup of four seats if Obama wins reelection, or three if Romney wins.
If Republicans lose their seats in Indiana, Maine and Massachusetts, they face an uphill battle in gaining control of the Senate. They would have to win all the competitive open seats now in Democratic hands — Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin — plus knock off incumbents in Montana, Ohio and perhaps Pennsylvania. Analysts predict that Democrats will narrowly hold the Senate, while Republicans are expected to keep the House.