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.

6. North Carolina's Eighth

Another state with a 7:30 poll-closing time, North Carolina has several races to watch, but the Eighth is the closest.

Democratic incumbent Larry Kissel has held the seat for only one term – prevailing in 2008 in part because of redistricting and demographic changes that helped Democrats. The Eighth is no longer the reliably Republican district it used to be.

Congressman Kissel also has a fairly conservative voting record – opposing both health-care reform and cap-and-trade bills – but is facing strong anti-incumbent sentiment, and it’s not clear that he’ll be able to keep his seat from going to Harold Johnson, a longtime local sportscaster.

Also keep an eye on North Carolina's Second District – which was favored for Democrats until recently, and now seems a seat that Republicans are likely to take over – and its Seventh and 11th. If Republicans can win those Democratic-favored seats, it’s likely to be a very bad night for Democrats.

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