High Stakes Mark Many Races This Election Day

A reminder of what's at stake this Election Day: Republicans are hoping to tip congressional majorities away from the Democrats, and many races around the nation are extremely close.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Here's some numbers to keep in mind as you wait for results to roll in today. The day begins with Democrats in charge of both houses of Congress. In the House, Republicans would need to gain 39 seats to capture control.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

They have many opportunities to do that. As many as 100 House seats are considered competitive.

INSKEEP: In the Senate, Republicans would need 10 seats to get control. If the chamber should end up dead even, a tie would go to the Democrats since Vice President Joe Biden would get the tie-breaking vote.

MONTAGNE: The Democratic leader in the Senate is among those fighting for his job. Nevada's Harry Reid is in a close race with Republican Sharron Angle.

INSKEEP: Republicans have a good shot to win President Obama's old Senate seat in Illinois.

MONTAGNE: In Alaska, Republican Lisa Murkowski is waging a write-in campaign after her loss in the primary.

INSKEEP: And it's not just Senate and House races today: 37 governors' races are in the mix this year, and one of them is in the state of California, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Democrat Jerry Brown is ahead in the polls against Meg Whitman, who has spent more than $140 million of her own money in the race.

INSKEEP: So those are some of the key numbers and key races and you can join us for special election coverage tonight starting at 8:00 Eastern on many NPR member stations - stations across the country. And you can get all the latest election results on NPR.org or on your smart phone.

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