10 key Senate races to watch in 2014Loading
  • Arkansas Senate
    Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win control of the Senate. Of the nation’s 10 most closely watched races, eight involve seats now held by Democrats, who won them in 2008 as Obama was rolling up a big victory.
    Arkansas - Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor (Nov. 1, 2013 file photo) is regarded as the nation's most vulnerable Democratic incumbent. Democratic former Sen. Blanche Lincoln lost by 21 percentage points in 2010 after Republicans tied her to Obama policies. Romney carried this state two years later with 60.5 percent. Polls show Pryor and Republican Rep. Tom Cotton in a close race.

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    Danny Johnston | AP
  • Shutdown Senate Dem Candidates
    Louisiana - Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (Oct. 3, 2013, file photo) has never had an easy time winning elections in this conservative state and is again considered no shoo-in. Her approval rating had dropped below 50 percent in a recent Southern Media & Opinion Research poll, though she still led potential challenger Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy.

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    Evan Vucci | AP
  • US NEWS CVN-DEMOCRATS 17 MCT
    North Carolina - Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan (September 6, 2012 file photo) upset incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole in 2008, the same time Obama won the state. Times have changed since. Obama lost North Carolina in 2012, one Democratic congressman lost - while another won by a few hundred votes - and voters elected a Republican governor. Hagan also faces questions about her support for Obamacare.

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    Harry E. Walker | MCT
  • Montana - Until last month, Montana looked like a safe Republican bet. Democratic Sen. Max Baucus is retiring, and Republican Rep. Steve Daines (Nov. 6, 2013,file photo) was the favorite to succeed him. But now Baucus has been tapped as the ambassador to China, and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock gets to name a successor. Odds are it'll be Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who'd then enter the race as an incumbent.

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    Mike Greener | AP
  • Alaska - Democratic Sen. Mark Begich (Sept.5, 2013 file photo) won in 2008 with only 48 percent over incumbent Ted Stevens, who'd just been convicted in a corruption case that later fell apart. This is a tough state to predict. Republicans still have a battle over their nominee, and voters here can be unpredictable and independent.

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    J. Scott Applewhite | AP
  • Giffords Iowa
    Iowa - Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin also is retiring, and Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley (Oct. 27, 2013 file photo)wants the seat. There's a lengthy list of potential Republican challengers, and the state party is divided between tea party and establishment types. Braley was running ahead of all the opponents in the latest Quinnipiac poll.

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    Scott Morgan | AP
  • US Senate Capito
    West Virginia - It's considered one of the likeliest Republican pickups. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (Nov. 27, 2012 file photo) is running strong for the seat of the retiring Democratic incumbent, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, against Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. The health care law plays a big role here.

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    Chip Ellis | AP
  • South Dakota - Popular former Gov. Mike Rounds (Nov. 29, 2012 file photo) is the favorite to get the Republican nomination for the seat of Sen. Tim Johnson, yet another pending Democratic retiree. The biggest Democratic threats, former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Johnson's son, chose not to run. One complication: Republican former Sen. Larry Pressler, who served three terms during the 1980s and 1990s, has entered the race as an independent and might draw votes from Rounds.

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    Chet Brokaw | AP
  • Senate
    Kentucky - Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Dec. 20, 2013.file photo) has a dilemma: First, he has to get by tea party favorite Matt Bevin in the primary, meaning he has to stay firmly in the conservative camp. Democrats are enthusiastic about Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes' chances. To win, McConnell probably has to inch toward the middle. He's won tough races before and remains the favorite in both contests.

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    Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP
  • Budget Battle
    Georgia - Democrats are eyeing the state, where Republicans are embroiled in another nomination fight, for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Oct. 1, 2013 file photo).

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    Susan Walsh | AP
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