(CNN) — Democrats have held the majority in the Senate for almost eight years, but as Election Day 2014 approaches, Republicans are confident that math and history are on their side.
Democrats head into the election with a 55-45 advantage; Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win a majority. Unfortunately for the Democrats, they have to defend 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs this year. Making matters worse for the Democrats is the fact that seven of their seats up this year are in states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012.
Democrats also have to contend with the electorate’s six-year itch. The party occupying the White House in the sixth year of a presidential administration almost invariably loses seats in Congress.
CNN currently calculates that a total of seven Democratic seats up this year are at risk: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
Three more Democratic seats — in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia — are already virtually conceded to the GOP.
As for the Republicans, CNN calculates that two vulnerable incumbents are up this year: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. The race for the open GOP seat in Georgia – currently held by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss – is also competitive.
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