By DONNA CASSATA
FILE – In this July 30, 2013 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans are counting on some Southern comfort to lift them into the Senate majority next year. The fate of Democratic incumbents in GOP-trending Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina; the ability of the 71-year-old GOP leader to hold his Kentucky seat and the eventual outcome in a divisive Georgia primary will help decide whether Republicans gain the six seats necessary to grab control for the final two years of the Obama presidency. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are counting on some Southern comfort to lift them into the Senate majority next year.
Control of the Senate rests on a handful of races in the South. Whether moderate Democratic incumbents can survive in GOP-trending Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina will go a long way to determining party control.
So will the fate of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, who faces both a primary challenge and a Democratic rival.
Democrats currently hold a 54-46 edge, though Newark Mayor Cory Booker is expected to win the New Jersey Democratic primary next Tuesday and capture the seat in an October special election. That would give Democrats a 10-seat margin. Republicans would need to gain six seats to run the Senate.