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The Seven Hardest States for Senate Democrats in 2012?
One of the reasons Senate Democrats are so bashful about changing the rules to weaken the power of the minority is that most folks expect that's exactly where Democrats will be after next year.
Republicans now have 47 seats in the Senate, meaning they need to gain only four seats to take control. Chance and a successful Democratic cycle in 2006 means that 23 seats controlled by Democrats will be up in 2012, compared to just 10 for Republicans.
The number that matters, though, is how many races will be competitive. And that's where the Democrats have a real problem.
Republicans are only likely to be playing defense on two of the 10 seats. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., will be in the fight of his life with his state's Democratic voters heading to the polls for a presidential election. In Nevada, scandal-soaked Sen. John Ensign will have to fight to hold on to his swing-state seat.
We can't yet know what primary upsets may be in store for Republicans. The Tea Party Express has already started calling out incumbents, starting with Maine's Olympia Snowe. The group's candidates lost winnable seats for Republicans in Delaware and Nevada in 2010, so the list of potential Republican defeats could certainly grow.
Originators Note: As of 20 Feruary 2011 four Democratic Senators including Senators Kent Conrad, Joe Lieberman, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Sen. Jim Webb have already dropped out for the 2011 general elections.
Note: A YES answer wold be Senators wno do NOT elect to return to the Senate because of retirement, running for a different office, OR by losing the 2012 primaries or general election.