As all of us who care about American politics have been aware of, the Republicans are close to winning back the majority in the US Senate. If this can occur in November, and control of the House continues, the GOP will have firm control of the agenda. Soon, we’ll start looking in depth at individual races, but now might be a good time to look at which states expect to have close contests.

538px US Capitol dome Jan 2006 1 2 3

The Senate elections that are currently rated as toss-ups are:

Florida – Bill Nelson, the incumbent Democrat is running for re-election. His most likely GOP opponents are Connie Mack, a Congressman, and former Senator George LeMieux.

Massachusetts – Incumbent Republican Scott Brown is running. His expected opponent is Elizabeth Warren, who worked as a consumer advocate in the Obama administration.

Missouri – Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is running for re-election. Her opponent is unclear at this time, but the leading candidates to face her are John Brunner, a businessman, Sarah Steelman, ex-state Treasurer, and Representative Todd Akin.

Montana –Jon Tester, the incumbent Democrat, is running again. He is likely to face either Representative Denny Rehberg or Dennis Teske, a farmer.

New Mexico – Incumbent Jeff Bingaman is retiring. This open seat will have primary contests in both parties. For the Democrats, the most likely candidates are Representative Martin Heinrich and Auditor Hector Balderas. The Republican candidate will probably either be Heather Wilson, a former Representative who has high name recognition, and a previous Congressional candidate, Greg Sowards.

Nevada – Dean Heller is the Republican incumbent who was appointed to complete the term of John Ensign, who resigned. He is running for his first full term. His opponent will probably be either Representative Shelley Berkley or business executive Barry Ellsworth.

Virginia – This race, with perhaps the exception of Massachusetts, is going to be one of the most closely scrutinized in the nation. The two likely candidates are both political powerhouses. They are former Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat and former Senator George Allen. Kaine was also chair of the DNC after Obama was elected President. Allen was widely expected to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2008. However, in his last Senate re-election campaign, he was defeated.

Wisconsin – Senator Herb Kohl, a Democrat, is retiring. The Democrat seeking his seat is Tammy Baldwin, a Representative. Her opponent is expected to be Representative Tommy Thompson, the former Governor.

Three seats in the Senate are expected to change parties. North Dakota and Nebraska are likely to be taken by the Republicans; Maine, with the retirement of Olympia Snowe, is likely to be taken by Independent/Democrat Angus King.