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Tightening Senate races give pause to upbeat GOP

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By Associated Press

BLUE BELL, Pa. (AP) — To understand Republicans' nagging fear that the Nov. 2 elections might not be quite the massive triumph that many have predicted, check out Pennsylvania's perplexing Senate race.

Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak has trailed Republican Pat Toomey for months, and a GOP victory always has seemed likely, given that it's a Republican-trending year in this perpetually contested state. Yet recent polls suggest Sestak has closed the gap, and Republican leaders are imploring supporters not to panic even as they ask themselves: What's going on?

The Sestak-Toomey race mirrors other Senate contests that are making this one of the most intriguing and unpredictable midterm elections in years.

Just as in Nevada, Colorado, Kentucky, and perhaps Alaska and Connecticut, each candidate is an accomplished but imperfect politician, and the tea party movement is playing a big but uncertain role.

In most of those states, plus Washington and California, Senate races are tightening to nail-biting margins. That means Republicans might pick up a few seats or as many as 10, which would give them the majority. Democrats privately concede they may be unable to keep their House majority, but losing the Senate would be devastating.


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