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  Despite High Hopes, Democrats Face Uphill Fight for Senate
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Last EditedTony82  Aug 20, 2004 01:50pm
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MediaNewspaper - Washington Post
News DateFriday, August 20, 2004 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionJust two and a half months before voters go to the polls, the outlook for the U.S. Senate remains as muddled as ever, with both political parties proclaiming an edge in the battle for control of the upper chamber of Congress.

Republicans now hold a 51-48 advantage over Democrats in the Senate. The Senate has one independent, James M. Jeffords of Vermont, a former Republican who votes mostly with the Democrats. Of the 34 seats up for grabs this year, 15 are currently held by Republicans and 19 by Democrats, and only about a quarter of the total are considered truly competitive.

Democrats say they've recruited a strong slate of candidates, and that, combined with Bush-fatigue and a general sense among voters that the nation is going in the wrong direction, creates a positive climate for them in November. In an Associated Press poll taken earlier this month, 59 percent of Americans said the nation is moving in the wrong direction -- not a good sign for the party holding power.

Republicans counter that Democrats have more seats to defend, and that most of those seats are in Bush-friendly, GOP-dominated states.

In fact, all eight of the most competitive senate races this year are in states Bush won in 2000. And the consensus among both the parties and nonpartisan analysts is that five states are definite toss-ups: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma. North Carolina, South Dakota and South Carolina are also often cited as too difficult to call....

So with that, let's take a quick state-by-state tour of the 12 most competitive states:
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