Who wins Senate in Election 2014? 3 reasons it could be mystery for weeks.

When Americans wake up after the Nov. 4 midterm elections, they still might not know which party controls the US Senate. Republicans need six seats to recapture control of the Senate, likely putting the GOP in charge of both chambers of Congress. Simple enough in an election year where President Obama’s approval rating is lower than a limbo bar, right?

Things may well turn out that way, but the end may not be known for weeks after Election Day. Here are three reasons why:

1. Failure to win a majority

David Tulis/AP
Democratic Georgia US senatorial candidate Michelle Nunn (r.) asks Republican candidate David Perdue about outsourcing jobs during an Atlanta Press Club debate at the Georgia Public Broadcasting studios Sunday.

Both Louisiana and Georgia require a winner to get a majority (50 percent plus one vote). Right now that looks unlikely in both states.

In Georgia, where Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn are competing for an open seat, the RealClearPolitics average of public polls rates this race as a tie – with both averaging 45.4 percent of the vote. A libertarian candidate, Amanda Swafford, has 3.8 percent of the vote.

This seat is being vacated by a Republican, but Mr. Perdue, a businessman, has gotten in hot water for comments about outsourcing jobs. If neither of the front-runners crosses the 50 percent threshold, it’s on to a Jan. 6 runoff.

Same story, different circumstances in Louisiana. That state doesn’t have a primary. All candidates run on Nov. 4, and if no one gets a majority, the two top winners head to a runoff on Dec. 6. Right now, incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu is running ahead of Republican Bill Cassidy in a jumble of candidates. But a runoff looks certain. Senator Landrieu is far from 50 percent, and in this red state, where neither she nor the president is popular, a match between the two highly favors Mr. Cassidy.

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