Top ten Senate races to watch in 2012

  • Top ten Senate races to watch in 2012

    George Allen, left, and Tim Kaine, right.

    VIRGINIA

    The Virginia Senate battle is one of the most highly-anticipated races in the country - and it may be one of the most competitive contests as well. Two former governors - Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen - will likely go head to head this November for the state's open seat, which is being vacated by outgoing Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, a former Navy Secretary. Allen, who also served in the Senate from 2000 to 2006, lost to Webb in 2006 in the wake of controversy sparked when he called one of Webb's aides a "macaca."

    The battle is expected to be expensive, protracted and incredibly close. It could also get ugly. Allen is attempting to rebuild his political reputation amid accusations from Democrats that he's too conservative for the state; his Republican primary challenger, meanwhile, has blasted him for not being conservative enough. And Kaine faces troubles of his own. As the former head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), he is working to distance himself from President Obama and the Democratic establishment.

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