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Sunday, December 4, 2016

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Photo: AFP/Mark Wilson

With less than a year to go until the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans are feeling bullish about their chances of winning a majority in the U.S. Senate. The GOP needs to gain a net of six seats in order to claim the majority, and with 21 Democratic seats in play — including seven in states that Mitt Romney won in the 2012 presidential election — there are ample opportunities for Republicans to grow their caucus.

Open seats in South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia — where incumbent Democrats Tim Johnson, Max Baucus, and Jay Rockefeller all chose to retire — are likely to transfer to Republican hands in the upcoming elections. That would leave the GOP needing three more victories for the majority — assuming, of course, that they don’t lose any seats of their own.

In other words, control of the upper chamber of Congress will probably come down to just a handful of elections across the country. Here are the six races that are likely to decide which party controls the U.S. Senate:

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