Republicans are riding a wave of anti-Washington furor nationwide, but while their prospects for taking control of the House look good, it will be a tougher road to the Senate, according to ABC's latest analysis. The last time one House changed hands without the other on Election Night was in 1910. That was before women could vote and before voters elected senators by direct ballot.
It has not been a smooth year for Republicans nationally. The Republican Pary's preferred candidates lost the primary in eight races, from Kentucky and Nevada to Utah and Alaska. Instead of supporting Republican Party-groomed candidates, the party has found itself supporting political neophytes.
Here is a look at ABC's coverage of some of this year's marquee Senate races.
In Nevada, the top Democrat in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, is in the fight of his political life. Reid has had close races throughout his political career – he won by a mere 524 votes in 1998. But his race against tea party favorite Sharron Angle is one of the most expensive and personal in the country. Angle has been assailed by Reid as a crack pot. She targeted him as Washington insider. She has avoided the press in recent months after interviews she gave on conservative radio stations. She referred to "second amendment remedies" as a way for people to deal with politicians. And she accused Reid of breaking the first commandment by trying to put government before God. TV ads in Nevada have been some of the meanest in the country. Reid's camp has accused her of trying to make Nevada a haven for domestic abusers. She has accused him of trying to give Viagra to sex offenders. Neither claim is true.
Eye doctor Rand Paul is one of the most notable Tea Party candidates. He is the son of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose 2008 Presidential run as a libertarian-minded Republican gave voice to the Tea Party movement before the Tea Party existed. Rand Paul won the Republican nomination without the backing of local or national Republicans. As we reported, this has been one of the nastiest and oddest races in the country. The Democrat, Attorney General Jack Conway questioned Paul's religion after GQ ran a story about Conway's college years. Things went downhill from there. Paul refused to shake Conway's hand at one point, and a liberal activist was stomped on by a Paul supporter after a debate.
One of the most surprising primary losses for an incumbent Republican was Sen. Lisa Murkowski's in Alaska. Tea Party favorite and attorney Joe Miller came out of nowhere to win the Republican nomination. Murkowski went on to run as a write-in candidate and shows strength at the polls. If there are enough write-in votes for her to win, expect a drawn-out legal battle between her camp and Miller's over the ballots and how people spell her name. Her stock has risen among more moderate Alaskans as some of Miller's more hardline Tea Party opinions have become known. He opposes federal unemployment benefits and the minimum wage. The dark horse is Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams, the Democrat. National Democrats didn't even know McAdams' name when he won the nomination, but with some clever advertising and by splitting the Republican vote, he could play spoiler.
Republicans abandoning Miller in Alaska: Republicans Counting on Write-In Lisa Murkowski Over Joe Miller in Alaska
Woodhouse can't name McAdams:'We Look For Candidates Who Can Win'
Democrat Michael Bennet had never held elective office before he was appointed to the Senate to replace Sen. Ken Salazar, now secretary of the Interior Department. Bennet will see his name on a ballot for the first time Tuesday. He's running against Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck, a Tea Party favorite. This is one of the closest races in the country. Bennet emerged from a bruising primary in which liberal activists had supported another candidate. He may face a real enthusiasm gap as energized Republicans vote for Buck.
Tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell shocked moderate Republican Mike Castle in the Republican primary. Castle appeared to be a lock for the Senate seat in Delaware. But his loss to O'Donnell put the seat in major jeopardy, and now Democrat Chris Coons, a county executive, is the heavy favorite in the race. Since winning the Republican primary, O'Donnell has kept politics interesting in 2010. Clips surfaced of her as a political pundit in the '90s where she admitted to dabbling in witchcraft. The ensuing public scrutiny led to her famous "I am not a witch" ad. Her appearance at debates led to discussion about whether church and state should be separated in American government. O'Donnell found strange comfort from liberal women's groups after the tabloid website Gawker published a first-person account from someone who claimed to have gone on a date with her.
Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin is popular in West Virginia. But President Obama is not. While Manchin leads in the polls, he has had to run harder than expected for Sen. Robert Byrd's old Senate seat. Manchin aired a TV ad in which he used a rifle to literally shoot the cap-and-trade climate change bill passed through the House of Representatives in 2009. His opponent, businessman John Raese has stumbled amid accusations he is a part-time resident in West Virginia. Raese's wife and children spend most of their time in Florida.
Republican Sen. Jim DeMint is the heavy favorite for re-election in South Carolina, especially after the surprise victory in the Democratic primary of Alvin Greene, an unemployed former military man. Greene's victory, seen as a fluke since he had neither a website nor campaign events. Greene gave several uncomfortable TV interviews and has failed to gain any sort of traction, especially after he was hit with felony charges for showing pornography to a college student. Greene was also the subject of an unauthorized rap video that went viral on YouTube.
Charlie Crist was the popular Republican governor of Florida in 2009. But then he supported President Obama's $814 billion stimulus, and Republicans turned on him in his bid for the Senate. Crist left the party, ceding the Republican nomination to Marco Rubio, the former state House speaker. Some Democrats have been secretly pulling for Crist, who would caucus with them and help keep Democrats' majority. But Crist's transition to independent has included some political gymnastics. Democrat Kendrick Meek argues that Crist is not independent at all. Polls show Rubio leading Crist and Meek in third place. News that former President Clinton, Meek's No. 1 backer, had encouraged Meek to leave the race, was a tacit sign that Democrats feel they have a better chance with Crist, despite his past. Rubio is currently the odd-on favorite.