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Control of Senate May Rest on Money

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown had a whopping $12.9 million in the bank after a $3.3 million quarter, but Roll Call still rates his race a Tossup.

In Massachusetts, Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren rode a wave of national star power to cut into the seemingly insurmountable cash advantage of Sen. Scott Brown (R). Warren raised a remarkable $5.8 million in the fourth quarter, ending the year with $6.1 million in cash on hand. Brown had a whopping $12.9 million in the bank after a $3.3 million quarter.

Democrats said privately that while they remain confident in Hawaii, former Gov. Linda Lingleís (R) candidacy has made it a race. The increasingly likely  New Mexico contest between Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) and former Rep. Heather Wilson (R), assuming they win their primaries, is a competitive race mostly flying under the radar.

Roll Call currently rates seven races as Tossups: open Democratic seats in New Mexico, Virginia and Wisconsin; the seats of Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.); and the seats of Republicans Brown and Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.).

Heller picked up the fundraising pace in the fourth quarter, breaking even in the money race with Rep. Shelley Berkley (D). Both raked in $1.1 million and finished just over $100,000 of each other in cash on hand.

McCaskill, Tester and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine continue to outpace their GOP opponents and all have cash advantages of at least $1.3 million. Tester raised nearly twice as much as Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), but that race is expected to remain a virtual tie until the election.

McCaskill ended the year with $5 million in the bank. Among her toughest GOP opponents, Rep. Todd Akin (R) raised $232,000 and had $1.2 million in cash on hand, while GOP businessman John Brunner brought in more than $1.2 million, including a $1 million personal loan, but finished with only $209,000 in the bank.

Kaine and ex-Sen. George Allen (R) are running for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D). Kaine is more closely tied to President Barack Obama than any other Senate candidate ó Allen hasnít let that go unnoticed and Kaine hasnít run from it.

In Wisconsin, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) raised $1.2 million last quarter and most likely will face either former Gov. Tommy Thompson or former Rep. Mark Neumann in the general.

The seats of retiring Democratic Sens. Conrad and Ben Nelson (Neb.) are rated as Likely Republican pickups, as are two seats Republicans must hold ó the open Arizona seat and Sen. Dick Lugarís (R-Ind.) spot. Lugar has a primary but raised twice as much as state Treasurer Richard Mourdock and had an overwhelming lead in cash-on-hand with $4 million.

Among the races Roll Call rates as Leans Democratic are Ohio, where Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) are in a fundraising arms race; Hawaii, where Rep. Mazie Hirono and former Rep. Ed Case are duking it out for the chance to take on Lingle; Michigan, where Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) will likely face former Rep. Pete Hoekstra; and Florida, where Sen. Bill Nelsonís (D) fundraising largess continues to make it more unlikely that the NRSC will spend its precious resources in the expensive state.

ďItís continuing evidence that itís not 2010 anymore, Toto,Ē SKDK Managing Director J.B. Poersch, a former DSCC executive director, said of Democratic incumbentsí fundraising success.

Republicans agree, saying Democrats shouldnít expect a replay of the 2010 GOP primaries that helped Democrats keep control of the Senate.

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