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By David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau (MCT)

Looks like Republicans will have at least 53, and more likely 54, seats in the Senate that convenes in January.

With all Alaska precincts reporting, Republican Dan Sullivan had a 4 percentage point lead over Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat. The Alaska Dispatch News reports Begich has not conceded. Thousands of uncounted absentee and early ballots have not been counted, and probably won’t be tallied until next week.

The account said Begich’s team is hoping to make big gains in rural areas, where he has traditionally done well. But he has “daunting” odds, the paper reported.

The official Senate count for the 114th Congress now stands at 52 Republicans, 43 Democrats, two independents who will caucus with Democrats, and three races outstanding. In Virginia, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is ahead of Republican Ed Gillespie and is expected to win that race.

The last contest to be decided is in Louisiana, where no one got a majority. Republican Bill Cassidy is favored to defeat Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, in the December 6 runoff. Landrieu won 42 percent in Tuesday’s election, while Cassidy got 41 percent.

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