So to win back the majority, Republicans have to win those two seats in WV and SD, and four more from Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, and North Carolina. All the while, they must hold their two endangered seats in Kentucky and Georgia. That's called "running the board."
Head below the fold for a closer look at the GOP's actual chances of victory.
Even if Republicans hold those two, they have to win four of the remaining six battlegrounds. One of them is Michigan, where current polling shows a tight race. But Michigan is the New Jersey of the midwest, often giving Republicans false hope only to see them dashed on Election Day. Past performance is no indicator of future results, of course, but Republicans are fighting the state's partisan lean.
Luckily for Republicans, the other five battlegrounds are being fought in Red territory.
There hasn't been much polling out of Montana, but that certainly appears to be a top Republican opportunity. Democrats in the state are hopeful that Democratic-appointed Sen. John Walsh's background as head of the state's National Guard will play nicely contrasted with Republican Steve Daines' extreme tea party conservatism. We'll know more soon enough.
Arkansas has been trending Red for several cycles, and incumbent Dem Mark Pryor is the most endangered of the cycle (not including Walsh, who was just appointed to his seat). However, four straight polls have now shown Pryor with the lead, and his Republican challenger is begging for multiple debates—never a sign of strength.
Louisiana certainly looks tough, not just the tied polls, but Landrieu's numbers in the mid-40s. Her state has a jungle primary in November, which means we'll have a December runoff with control of the Senate possibly at stake. That would be epic.
There's North Carolina, where Dem incumbent Kay Hagan is holding a slim lead but also stuck in the mid-40s, dangerous territory for an incumbent, but not out.
And finally, Alaska (which I forgot to add in the original writeup). It's neck-and-neck in the current polling composite with Begich in the low 40s.
So we have Republicans with two, probably three solid pickup chances. Then there are
four five neck-and-neck races, three of which the Republicans have to win for the majority, but only if Dems don't capitalize on their own chances in Georgia and Kentucky. And this is the GOP's supposed surefire November Senate pickup? The fat lady hasn't sang, and frankly, neither has the GOP's crazy crop of candidates. Who will be this cycle's Richard Murdock and Todd Akin?
No, this game ain't over.