Illustration for article titled 8 Senate races going down to the wire

Republicans are confident they can wrest control of the Senate. Tomorrow, their hopes will be put to the test.


If you’ve been tuning out the midterm mayhem, here's a closer look at some of the key races to watch on Election Day.


Who has the edge? McConnell

Big issue: Coal. New regulations from the Obama administration put Grimes in the awkward position of defending a big industry for the state while also squaring that with past statements about the need to address climate change.

Biggest gaffe: When Grimes refused to say whether she voted for President Obama.

Weirdest ad: McConnell's bizarre autotuned spot, "What Rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes"

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Who has the edge? Ernst

Big issue: Minimum wage. When Ernst said at a debate that she doesn't think there should be a federal minimum wage — or a hike in Iowa — Dems pounced.


Biggest gaffe: Braley mocked longtime Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley as a "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school."

Weirdest ad: Ernst's primary ad "Squeal," in which she utters the phrase, "I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm."


Who has the edge? Gardner

Big issue: Abortion rights. Udall has used Gardner’s shifting position on “personhood” measures, which would drastically restrict abortions and birth control, to cast his opponent as an extremist.


Biggest gaffe: Trying to distance himself from Obama, Udall said during a debate, "the White House, when they look down the front lawn, the last person they want to see coming is me."

Weirdest ad: Radio spot sponsored by the pro-abortion rights group NARAL. A couple is trying to have sex can't find condoms, saying Cory Gardner banned them. Then they guy starts hitting Gardner on climate change while referring to his partner as "sweet pea." Real turn on.



Who has the edge? Shaheen

Big issue: Carpetbagging. Brown already put in a couple years as a senator from Massachusetts, so Shaheen has charged him with moving to New Hamphire solely for political gain.


Biggest gaffe: Playing into Shaheen's narrative, Brown mistakenly said he was in Massachusetts during a New Hampshire campaign stop.

Weirdest ad: Brown didn't quite pull off an attempt to link ISIS and immigration.

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Who has the edge? Perdue

Big issue / Biggest gaffe:  Outsourcing. Asked about a 2005 legal deposition in which Perdue said he spent "most of [his] career outsourcing," the GOP nominee said he was "proud of it."


Weirdest ad: Not so strange as it is wrong. A Perdue attack ad against Nunn said she "funded organizations linked to terrorists," due her tenure heading the Points of Light Foundation.  The organization helped collect donations for Islamic Relief USA, which has no links to terrorism.


Who has the edge? Sullivan, but Alaska polling is historically unreliable.

Big issueLocal roots. Begich was born in Anchorage, while Sullivan was born in Ohio and moved to Alaska in 1997.


Biggest gaffe: Begich used images of Alaska's other senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, to emphasize his bipartisan outreach. But Murkowski sent him a cease-and-desist letter to stop the practice. When Begich was asked about it in the ad, he said that Murkowski "didn't like the photo." The GOP senator called his remark offensive.

Weirdest ad: Sullivan stood on top of an Anchorage building and criticized Begich's ability to get results in Washington. Problem is, Begich helped the building get built while he was mayor.


Who has the edge? Orman

Big issue: Roberts' unpopularity. Even after three terms in the Senate, Kansans don't particularly like him.


Biggest gaffe: Roberts faced criticism after The New York Times reported he doesn't own a home in Kansas. Responding on a local radio program, Roberts slipped up when he said: "Every time I get an opponent — I mean, every time I get a chance, I’m home.”


Who has the edge? Depends. Louisiana uses a jungle primary system in which all candidates appear on the ballot. If no candidate earns 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff. Cassidy would lead in a head-to-head matchup with Landrieu.

Big issue: President Obama's low approval ratings.

Biggest gaffe: Landrieu was forced to repay over $33,000 for flights to campaign stops that were paid for with taxpayer funds.


Weirdest ad: Rob Maness' "Gator" spot

Graphics by: Alejandra Aristizabal

Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.

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