TODAY   |  November 06, 2012

Tight races have Senate majority up for grabs

After Election Day is over, Republicans are expected to keep control of the House, but the Senate is harder to predict and the battle has been fierce. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports on the tight races in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia, and more.

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>>> our election day coverage and today on the trail. the presidential race , as you know, is not the only big decision facing voters today. the balance of power on capitol hill is also at stake. nbc's capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell is in columbus, ohio with a look at some of the country's key senate races. kelly , good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. we're in franklin county where four precincts are casting their balance here and whether voters give president obama a second term or send mitt romney to the white house either man's fate is tied to power on capitol hill and especially which party will control the senate , and that battle has been fierce. massachusetts is the main event in a party tug-of-war. a staggering $76 million spent.

>> good to see you guys, thank you for coming out.

>> reporter: republican senator scott brown is widely considered popular and gets credit for working with democrats, but he's at risk.

>> it's nice to meet you.

>> you have my vote.

>> reporter: pressure is on democrat elizabeth warren , a first-time candidate, former obama administration official and harvard law professor to block republicans from taking enough seats to be in charge.

>> a republican controlled senate is a senate bad for massachusetts and bad for this country.

>> want to talk about gridlock, imagine when professor warren is down there. that's what people tell me.

>> reporter: republicans expect to pick up seats held by retiring democrats in north dakota and nebraska but could lose a seat in maine after olimpia snowe bowed out.

>> the fight over the senate is a very big deal , and it has not gone very well over the last few months for the republicans .

>> reporter: that's because republicans were counting on red state candidates that turned into long shots. in missouri republican todd akin refused to quit after his comments about rape and pregnancy angered many women and fellow republicans .

>> thank you very much. and, you know, i believe we have. we've had a few knocks. it's been turbulent flying, you might say.

>> reporter: so once vulnerable missouri democrat claire mcaskill is favored to keep her seat and in indiana republican richard mourdock saw his poll numbers say after saying god intended pregnancies that resulted from rape. former wrestling executive linda mcmahon has spent tens of millions of her own money trying to turn a connecticut seat for republicans . in wisconsin democrat tammy baldwin could become the first openly gay senator, up again former governor tommy thompson , and the most expensive senate race is in virginia, at $82 million. two former governors with democrat tim kaine polling ahead of republican george allen . and there are 33 senate races around the country, including one here in ohio, and republicans would need to pick up three or four seats to get control. democrats are expected to be able to hold on. in the house of representatives democrats would need to pick up 25 seats, so there is less suspense there. republicans are expected to keep control of the house of representatives . matt?

>> all right, kelly o'donnell, thank