So, previously we looked at 22 races that are clear holds - 10 for Republicans and 12 for Democrats. That means that there are 12 races that are either competitive or where a pickup by the opposing party is all but assured; all of them are for seats currently held by a Republican.
We'll start with the easy ones.
In Colorado, Mark Udall is running strong to take over for retiring Senator Wayne Allard.
In New Mexico, Tom Udall (no relation) is cruising to victory and will take over for Pete Domenici, who is retiring amidst allegations that he improperly pressured a US Attorney to bring frivolous vote fraud lawsuits on the eve of the 2006 midterm elections, eventually leading to the firing of said US Attorney after he refused to cave in to Domenici's pressure.
In Virginia, Mark Warner, a very popular Democratic ex-governor, is running against Jim Gilmore, a very unpopular Republican ex-governor. It's not clear why Gilmore bothered, unless he's just become a professional opponent like some punch-drunk palooka taking four-round beatings from hot prospects in return for meager paychecks.
So those three races represent a net gain of +3 for Democrats; that means that the worst-case scenario for Democrats is that they would
have 54 seats in the Senate as of January 2009. However, it's likely under that scenario that Joe Lieberman would be kicked out of the party, leaving the Democratic caucus at 53.
The other races warrant a more in-depth analysis, which I will get to in a series of posts later this evening.