|By BILL BARROW, Associated Press|
There are 36 races: 21 Democratic seats, 15 held by Republicans. Realistically, fewer than a dozen will be competitive.
The outcome won't change the fact of divided, slow-moving government in
If Republicans control both chambers of
Five dynamics to watch as
1. DEMOCRATS IN
Democrats must defend seven seats in states where Republican
2. WHO'S MORE UNPOPULAR: OBAMA OR THE REPUBLICANS?
Republicans want to make the president an albatross for every Democrat, none more so than those in conservative states. Begich, Landrieu, Pryor and Hagan face ads attacking them as "the deciding vote" on the Affordable Care Act — Obama's signature health care reform legislation.
Other Democratic candidates are cast as "rubber stamps" for Obama and his "liberal agenda." Democrats are trying to link Republicans to the House Republican caucus and its influences from the ultraconservative tea party movement. The caucus as a whole is unpopular for its role in 2013's partial government shutdown, among other things. Hagan employs the same tactic against her opponent,
If there's any politician in
The race reflects everything about the national tug of war.
McConnell hammers Grimes as the "hand-picked" candidate of Obama and Senate Democratic leader
McConnell has Romney coming to raise money for him soon. Grimes has had help from former President
4. HOME COOKING
Republicans are trying to make the election a referendum on Obama and general voter discontent. Some Democratic incumbents are trying to survive by adhering to the adage that "all politics is local."
5. THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES
After hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on television advertising, consultants and voter turnout operations,
EDITOR'S NOTE _
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