Special Elections Could Give GOP Seats In Current Congress

Republicans might not have to wait until the next Congress to pick up seats on Capitol Hill.

Due to certain states’ election laws, three Senators who were appointed to their seats this year will have their terms end after the November 2 midterm elections. Illinois, Delaware, and West Virginia are all holding special elections this November, and none of the appointed Senators currently holding those seats are on the ballots.

Republican wins in any of these races could weaken the Democrats’ 59-seat majority in the Senate if the current session of Congress continues past Election Day or is re-convened before the new 112th session is sworn in this January.

Currently, the Senate will reconvene on Sept. 13, and is expected to remain in session at least through the month but the end of the session is contingent on legislative negotiations still underway.

In Illinois, two Senate races will appear on the ballot this November – one for a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of the current Congress, and another for a full six-year term.

The winner of the special election is expected to be certified shortly before Thanksgiving, according to an Illinois State Board of Elections official.

Delaware is also holding a special election in November to determine who will serve the remaining four years of Vice President Joe Biden’s Senate term.

Many consider Delaware a prime potential pick-up for the GOP this November. The Republican primary, set for Sept. 14, has drawn national attention in recent weeks as the moderate Rep. Mike Castle seeks to stave off an upset by Tea Party-favorite Christine O’Donnell.

Sen. Carte Goodwin of West Virginia became the Senate’s 59th Democrat early this year after the death of long-time Senator Robert C. Byrd. Gov. Joe Manchin appointed Goodwin to fill the seat until the special election, which will also be held on November 2.

Manchin, a popular two-term Democratic governor, decided to run for the seat himself, and easily won a special primary this August. He now faces Republican businessman John Raese in the special election. The winner of that election is expected to be certified by mid November, and will serve the remainder of Byrd’s term.

Read more from Alison Harding at CNN Politics

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