GOP candidates rush to get into Senate racesPhilip Elliott
Less than two months after voters gave Republicans six more Senate seats and control of the House, the GOP is lining up candidates for 2012, well ahead of the pace of previous election cycles.
Looking to ride what they hope will be a continuing Republican wave, nine potential challengers, including two each in Missouri and Virginia, already have said they are weighing bids for the U.S. Senate.
They have an abundance of targets. Twenty-one of the 33 Senate seats up in 2012 are held by Democrats and two others are occupied by independents who align themselves with Democrats. Including those independents, Democrats will hold a 53-47 Senate advantage in the new Congress that convenes Jan. 5. The 10 Republican senators up for re-election in 2012 have yet to draw a challenger.