TO WIN: Control of the Senate hinges on these volatile races
As Election Day approaches and the nation prepares to go to the polls, it is still unclear which party has the best chance of winning control of Senate. But four volatile races in different regions of the country will likely determine the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans.
Senate races in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania are ground zero in the battle for the upper house of Congress, with polling averages showing no clear lead for either Republican or Democrat, and candidates in each race seeking a victory that brings their party over the threshold of 50 seats for most.
In Georgia, Republican Herschel Walker leads incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock by 1.6%, according to A real clear policy (RCP) average of polls conducted in recent weeks, fairly within the margin of error.
As in many Democratic races in what was predicted to be a favorable year for Republicans, Walker trailed Warnock by a larger percentage earlier in the summer, but has since closed that gap despite attempts by Democrats to portray him as an extreme and frivolous candidate.
Republican Blake Masters in Arizona has taken similar steps. Although he still trails incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly by 2.3 percent according to the RCPthat lead is much smaller than the nearly 10-point lead Kelly had in September.
In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt, a former attorney general, leads incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto by 1.9% according to the RCPwith much of his support appearing to come from independent voters in the traditional battleground state.
He has maintained his lead in the polling average since overtaking Cortez Masto in September despite the latter viewed more favorably among voters.
In arguably the most high-profile race of the year, Democratic Pennsylvania Governor John Fetterman holds a slight 0.6% lead over Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, according to the RCPone of the closest margins in the race since the primary.
The rift between the two closed following continued concerns about Fetterman’s health after he suffered a stroke earlier this year and his refusal to release his medical records. His performance in the only debate between the two candidates last week, he drew widespread criticism for what appeared to be trouble speaking and processing information throughout the event.
A number of other Senate races across the country remain close but without such wide margins, including the race between Republican JD Vance and Democrat Tim Ryan in Ohio, incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democrat Val Demings in Florida, Republican Rep. Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, and incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin.
Republicans are favored in each of those races, but have been a major target for Democrats this election cycle.
The Senate is currently split 50-50 between the two parties, with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie votes giving the Democrats the smallest possible majority. Assuming Republicans win races in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as every other race they are heavily favored to win, they would need to win two of the four critical seats to gain control of the Senate or one of the four seats in order to maintain a 50-50 split.
Fox News’s Power Rankings rates the overall Senate battle as a toss-up.
The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 8.
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