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Control of US Senate hinges on a handful of close races

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Alison Lundergan Grimes takes a selfie with a supporter (Facebook)

American voters will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate in Tuesday’s elections, and at least 10 competitive races are still considered too close to predict a winner.

Thirty-six of the 100 Senate seats are at stake in the midterm elections, which are held halfway through the four-year presidential term. Republicans must pick up six more seats from Democrats to reclaim a majority.

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All 435 seats are up for election in the House of Representatives, where Republicans are expected to expand their majority, and governors will be chosen in 36 states.

Here are the key Senate battlegrounds:

Alaska

First-term Democratic Senator Mark Begich is trying to hold off Republican Dan Sullivan, a former state attorney general. Begich has touted his deep roots in the state, where his father was a congressman, and painted Sullivan, born in Ohio, as an outsider.

Arkansas

Republican Tom Cotton, a first-term congressman and Iraq war veteran, hopes to oust Democratic Senator Mark Pryor by casting him as an ally of unpopular Democratic President Barack Obama.

Colorado

Republican Representative Cory Gardner, campaigning as a moderate conservative, is challenging Democratic Senator Mark Udall in the traditional swing state.

Georgia

Michelle Nunn, daughter of popular former Senator Sam Nunn, is battling to pick up a seat for Democrats against Republican David Perdue, a former chief executive of Dollar General, in the race to replace retiring Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. Libertarian Amanda Swafford could pick up enough votes to force the race into a Jan. 6 runoff if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote.

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Iowa

Republican Joni Ernst is seeking to become the first woman to represent Iowa in the Senate by defeating Democratic Representative Bruce Braley, a four-term congressman, in one of the country’s hardest-fought races. They are vying to replace retiring Democrat Tom Harkin.

Kansas

Three-term Republican Senator Pat Roberts is struggling to survive an unexpectedly strong challenge from independent businessman Greg Orman. Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out of the race to clear the way for Orman. Republicans have held the two Senate seats in Kansas since 1939.

Kentucky

The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, is seeking re-election to a sixth term against Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Democrat Grimes refused to say during the campaign whether she voted for Obama in 2012.

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Louisiana

Three-term Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is fighting for her political life against Republican Representative Bill Cassidy. A third candidate, Tea Party-backed Republican Rob Maness, also is in the race, and a Dec. 6 runoff would be needed if no candidate gets more than 50 percent.

New Hampshire

Republican Scott Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts, moved to New Hampshire to take on Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who was elected in the 2008 Democratic wave that brought Obama to the White House.

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North Carolina

In the most expensive Senate race, Republican Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House, is trying to unseat first-term Democratic Senator Kay Hagan by painting her as a rubber stamp for Obama.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by John Whitesides and Frances Kerry)


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‘Trump endangered America’s democracy’: President’s delusion broken down in brutal WaPo analysis

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President Donald Trump's refusal to accept the fact that he lost the 2020 presidential election was the focus of a Washington Post deep-dive published online Saturday night.

The story, by Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner, was titled, "20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election."

"The facts were indisputable: President Trump had lost. But Trump refused to see it that way," the newspaper reported. "Sequestered in the White House and brooding out of public view after his election defeat, rageful and at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations, Trump was, in the telling of one close adviser, like 'Mad King George, muttering, ‘I won. I won. I won.'’"

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Female kicker makes college American football breakthrough

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Vanderbilt University kicker Sarah Fuller made collegiate American football history Saturday as the first woman to play in a "Power Five" contest in the Commodores' 41-0 loss to Missouri.

Fuller, goalkeeper for the school's Southeastern Conference champion women's soccer squad, was given the chance to play on the gridiron after Covid-19 testing left Vanderbilt without a kicker.

"I was really excited to step out on the field and do my thing," Fuller said.

Because Vanderbilt's offensive unit sputtered, her contribution was limited to a single play -- the second-half kickoff. She punched the ball to the Missouri 35-yard line, a tricky low offering compared to the usual deeper kicks, where the Tigers fell upon it.

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2020 Election

Republican’s own standing in Congress now in doubt — did his voter fraud lawsuit backfire?

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A Republican congressman from Pennsylvania has cast doubt on his own legitimacy to serve in Congress with his failed lawsuit attempting to overturn the 2020 election results.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) attempted to have the courts block certification of the 2020 election results, but his effort was rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Saturday.

"The PA Supreme Court dismisses the case brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly that sought to overturn last year’s law creating no-excuse mail voting and to throw out those mail ballots cast in this election," Philadelphia Inquirer correspondent Jonathan Lai reported Saturday. "This is the case the Commonwealth Court had earlier blocked certification in."

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