National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn has consistently insisted that regaining control of the upper chamber would be a two-cycle process. With the party committees already busy firing rockets at prospective opposition candidates, the second half of his timeline is underway.
Democrats have 23 seats to defend in two years and as many as nine look to be potentially competitive. With the GOP just four seats short of their goal, POLITICO pinpoints the five Democrats currently at the top of the Republican target list.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson
It took all of three days after the election for the first Republican to throw his hat in the ring against the two-term Nelson. Attorney General Jon Bruning took the initial step of forming an exploratory committee after popular GOP Gov. Dave Heineman signaled he would stay put as chief executive through 2012.