Close races in the battle for US Senate
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A year ago, Republicans seemed headed toward capturing the U.S. Senate, now held by Democrats, 53-47.
But then things went awry, beginning with the surprise decision in February by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to surrender her relatively safe seat and retire and, most recently, a series of attention-grabbing comments about rape by Republican candidates who could have unseated Democrats.
Thirty-three of the Senate's 100 seats are being contested, of which 23 are held by Democrats.
Democrats are now slightly favored to retain the Senate though a tie is also possible, in which case the vice president of the United States would cast the decisive vote.
Here's a look at races that have been considered close over the past few weeks:
Angus King, a popular and independent former governor, is in a three-way race with Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers and Democratic state senator Cynthia Dill.
National Democrats are not backing Dill, figuring King will win and side with them in deciding Senate control. But with King declining to say what he will do, the race for Snowe's seat is seen as a tossup.
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party favorite, defeated Senator Richard Lugar in the 2012 Republican primary, complaining that the incumbent was not conservative enough.
But Mourdock may be too conservative for this Republican-leaning state. He had been running neck and neck with Democrat Joe Donnelly, a House of Representatives member since 2007. Donnelly has attacked Mourdock as an extremist; Mourdock ties Donnelly to President Barack Obama, referring to him in TV ads as Obama Joe.
A poll released on Friday, after Mourdock made some more controversial comments about rape and abortion, showed Donnelly with a lead of 11 percentage points.
Former Governors George Allen and Tim Kaine are battling to fill the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Jim Webb, who ousted Allen from the Senate job six years ago.