Midterm elections: 12 House races to watch to judge size of a GOP 'wave'

Most observers expect Republicans to take over the House of Representatives, but more than 100 races could go either way. The magic number Republicans need to gain to take control: 39. Here are a handful of races to keep an eye on in the states with early-closing polls.

By , Staff writer

10. Pennsylvania's 11th

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    Incumbent Rep. Paul Kanjorski (l.) and his Republican challenger for Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District, Lou Barletta, appear in a televised debate Oct. 28 in Pittston, Pa.
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Pennsylvania's 11th is another district in which a long-time Democratic incumbent (Paul Kanjorski, who has represented the district since 1985) is in danger. Congressman Kanjorski has faced the same opponent – Hazelton, Pa., Mayor Lou Barletta – twice before, and beat him by just four points in 2008.

Mr. Barletta has attacked Kanjorski for his votes on health-care reform and TARP, and Real Clear Politics has him favored to win in this largely blue-collar district.

Still, Kanjorski has outraised and outspent him, and has attacked his tenure as mayor and suggested to voters that he might vote to slash Social Security benefits.

If Kanjorski can hang onto his seat – a distinct possibility – it could be a harbinger of a better-than-expected night for Democrats.

Also keep an eye on the state's Seventh, Eighth, and 10th, which are close races in which the Republican candidate has a leg up, and the 12th, in which the Democrat is favored to keep his seat.

Pennsylvania's polls close at 8 p.m.

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