The Senate Races

This year, 35 of the 100 Senate seats will be holding elections.

Five U.S. senators -- all Republicans -- will be retiring and their seats are up for grabs.

The current composition of the Senate, going into the 2008 election, is made up of 49 Republicans, 49 Democrats, and two independents (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who both caucus with Democrats). Of the seats up for election in 2008, 23 are held by Republicans and 12 by Democrats.

In Minnesota, the Democratic candidate is comedian and former radio talk show host Al Franken, who was one of the original writers and performers on Saturday Night Live.

The Senate race in North Carolina is the only one in 2008 with two women running against each other: Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole versus Democrat Kay Hagan.

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