TheDC Election Outlook: In best of all GOP worlds, Senate control comes down to three states

Jon Ward Contributor
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Best-case scenario for the GOP: their hopes of taking the Senate come down to Washington, California and Pennsylvania.

And as The Daily Caller has written for a few weeks now, in the event that Republicans have a day on Nov. 2 that exceeds most expectations, Washington state will be ground zero to decide whether they retake the Senate.

But the steep hill that always stood between them and the upper chamber majority has gotten steeper in the last week or two, with races in Illinois, Colorado, West Virginia and Pennsylvania getting so tight they are essentially even.

Connecticut, meanwhile, appears to have fallen out of reach. Despite former WWE CEO Linda McMahon’s $41 million in personal funds toward the race, she has fallen 10 points behind Democrat Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

However, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, remains in a race to the bottom in Nevada with former state legislator Sharron Angle, the Republican has gained ground and holds a slight lead over all polling.

And in Wisconsin, Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold is still about six points behind Republican businessman Ron Johnson, according to the Real Clear Politics average, despite Democrat claims that the race is tightening.

Nate Silver of the New York Times gives the GOP a 19 percent chance of taking the Senate.

They are all but guaranteed three pickups in Arkansas, Indiana and North Dakota. They would have to run the table in the six tossup races that would get them to nine, one short of a majority. But polling in Illinois and Colorado over the last few days has begun to trend back in the direction of small leads for Republicans Mark Kirk and Ken Buck, respectively.

The one tossup race that has begun to look most perilous is Pennsylvania, where Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak has put Republican Pat Toomey on edge by erasing a large lead in the last few weeks.

Toomey’s edge was as high as nine points a month ago, but is now down to two.

In the event that Toomey held on, it would then come down to Washington, unless Republican Carly Fiorina in California somehow upended incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Democrat who has had plenty of support from President Obama in recent weeks.

Washington – where businessman and former state legislator Dino Rossi is challenging incumbent Sen. Patty Murray – continues to be the most likely place (where Republicans have not led and would not be expected to win) that the GOP could snatch their tenth seat.

Murray has led for much of the race, but her lead is down to 2.2 points in the RCP average, and Rossi has had as much cash to spend on TV ads as Murray for a few weeks. That level playing field will continue through Election Day.

However, that race, along with Illinois, may not be decided right away. Because Washington allows absentee ballots to be postmarked as late as Election Day, if the results are close, it may take several days to declare a winner. And even then, that result may end up being contested with lawyers.

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