WINSTON-SALEM – News stations are setting up at Forsyth Country Club awaiting U.S Senator Richard Burr. His arrival is expected at 7:30 p.m. along with Sen. Thom Tillis and his wife, Susan. The watch party is expected to be a small gathering with core supporters.”There have been 3.1 million votes cast (in Forsyth County) and Republican turnout is up by 20 percent. The enthusiasm has been on our side and I expect that to carry over into today,” said Jesse Hunt, Burr campaign spokesperson.The Burr and Ross race for N.C.’s senate seat is one of many that are on a short list for national attention Tuesday night. Power in the U.S. Congress, a key issue for the next president, could shift election night in Senate and House of Representatives, with Democrats trying to break Republican majorities in both chambers, with their best shot being the Senate. Here are the basics on what is at stake and 10 key Senate races: U.S. Senate, 100 seats. Senators serve six-year terms. A third of the Senate is up for re-election every two years. Procedural rules in the Senate mean 60 votes are needed to advance major initiatives.Republicans entered the election with 54 seats, led by Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, versus the Democrats’ 44 seats and two independent seats. The Democrats’ leader in the next Senate is expected to be New York’s Chuck Schumer.The Democrats have a 56 percent chance of winning a Senate majority, said a New York Times poll on Monday.The Republicans this year must defend 24 seats; the Democrats, 10. In 2018, Democrats must defend 23 seats, plus two independents’ seats; Republicans, only eight.Key Senate races:North Carolina – Republican Senator Richard Burr, 60, is seeking re-election against Democrat Deborah Ross, 53. Arizona – Republican Senator John McCain, 80, faces an unexpectedly strong challenge from Democratic U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, 66. McCain, a Vietnam War hero who was the presidential nominee in 2008, has had some very public differences with Trump.Florida – Republican Marco Rubio, the failed presidential contender, faces Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy, 43. Rubio, 45, had been expected to end his political career after losing Florida’s Republican presidential nominating contest to Trump, but he changed his mind and ran for a second Senate term.Indiana – Democrat Evan Bayh, 60, is trying to recapture his Senate seat, facing Republican Representative Todd Young, 44. Bayh left the Senate in 2011 to be a lobbyist. Bayh or Young will replace Republican Senator Dan Coats, who is retiring.Illinois – Republican Senator Mark Kirk is trying to fend off a challenge from Democratic Representative Tammy Duckworth. Kirk, 57, suffered a stroke that sidelined him for much of 2012. Duckworth, 48, is a double-amputee Iraq War veteran.Missouri – Republican Senator Roy Blunt, 66, faces a challenge from Democrat Jason Kander, 35, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who is now Missouri’s secretary of state.New Hampshire – Democratic New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, 58, is trying to oust Senator Kelly Ayotte, a 48-year-old Republican seeking a second term.Ohio – Republican Rob Portman, 60, is working to see off Democratic challenger Ted Strickland, 75, a former governor. Portman initially endorsed Trump, but later withdrew that backing and avoided appearing with Trump or even mentioning his name.Pennsylvania – Republican Senator Patrick Toomey, 54, faces Democrat Katie McGinty, 53, in the most expensive U.S. Senate contest in the country. Toomey has refused to take a position on Trump. McGinty has criticized him for that.Wisconsin – Democrat Russ Feingold, 63, is trying to oust Republican Ron Johnson, 61. Johnson unseated Feingold in 2010.
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