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As Evan Bayh bows out, Democrats scramble to save Senate control

With the announcement that Sen. Evan Bayh is not running for reelection, the GOP has a good shot at taking over yet another Senate seat from Democrats in the November midterms.

By Staff writer / February 16, 2010

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., speaks with the reporters after a news conference announcing he will not seek re-election in Indianapolis, Monday.

AJ Mast/AP



Suddenly, the Democrats are faced with a growing, though still outside, possibility that they could lose control of the Senate in the November midterms.

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The House moved within range of a remotely possible GOP takeover weeks ago, as the steady drumbeat of Democratic retirements and negative polls has expanded the playing field for Republicans.

Now, with the stunning announcement that Sen. Evan Bayh (D) of Indiana is not running for reelection, the Republicans have an excellent shot at taking over yet another seat. That moves the party one step closer to being within range of taking control of the Senate, if the Republicans are able to take full advantage of their strong position.

Political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg still projects the Democrats keep control of the Senate – though well down from their current 59-41 majority.

“Nine months ago, it appeared that the Democrats were going to gain Senate seats,” Mr. Rothenberg told CBS News. “And now we’re talking about the Republicans gaining four, six, seven, maybe eight Senate seats.”

The Cook Political Report, another nonpartisan handicapper, now lists 10 Democratic Senate seats within range of possible Republican pickup. Two seats – Barbara Boxer’s in California and the one being vacated by Christopher Dodd in Connecticut – “lean Democrat.” Five are called tossups: Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Michael Bennet of Colorado, the Illinois seat being vacated by Roland Burris (and once held by President Obama), Harry Reid of Nevada, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.