You think ’10 was tough? Check out ’12

For the first time in two cycles, Democrats will have more seats up for grabs than the Republicans, and the party could see its shrunken majority erased altogether.

Several of the senators up for reelection came in on the 2006 Democratic wave, when the party picked up six GOP seats and won control of the chamber.

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Sens. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Lawmakers introduce bipartisan Free Britney Act MORE Jr. (D-Pa.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGiuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri McCaskill shares new July 4 family tradition: Watching Capitol riot video Joe Manchin's secret MORE (D-Mo.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe MORE (D-Ohio), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseKavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers blast FBI's Kavanaugh investigation as 'sham' New York gun rights case before Supreme Court with massive consequences  MORE (D-R.I.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterNative Americans are targets of voter suppression too The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Crunch time for bipartisan plan; first Jan. 6 hearing today Senators scramble to save infrastructure deal MORE (D-Mont.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) defeated GOP incumbents that year but will have to win reelection in 2012.

And two senators who won special elections Tuesday, Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy: Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas review | Biden admin reportedly aims for 40 percent of drivers using EVs by 2030 |  Lack of DOD action may have caused 'preventable' PFAS risks Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas moratorium Feehery: It's time for Senate Republicans to play hardball on infrastructure MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHouse panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors To make energy green, remove red tape Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power MORE (N.Y.), will face voters again in two years.

 Democrats lost at least six Senate seats Tuesday, with results in Washington and Alaska undetermined as of press time, but they retained control.

That could change in two years, when Democrats have 21 seats up for grabs, compared to only 10 for Republicans. Also up for reelection are Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersWomen's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (Vt.), the two Independents who caucus with Democrats — meaning the party has a total of 23 seats to defend.

“The numbers are really working against them, no question about it,” said Jennifer Duffy, a senior Senate analyst at The Cook Political Report. “It will come down to what it always comes down to: retirements and recruiting.”

Many of those Democratic seats up next cycle are in purple or red states, including those of McCaskill, Manchin, Tester, Webb and Sens. Kent Conrad (N.D.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonTom Brady to Biden: '40 percent of the people still don't think we won' Rubio, Demings rake in cash as Florida Senate race heats up How transparency on UFOs can unite a deeply divided nation MORE (Fla.).

Webb saw several House Democrats in his state lose reelection Tuesday, and McCaskill saw her party lose a Senate pickup opportunity when Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntEight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division The Hill's Morning Report - Will Schumer back down on his deadline? GOP fumes over Schumer hardball strategy MORE (R) won retiring Sen. Kit Bond’s (R-Mo.) seat.

Some senators could opt to retire in 2012. Among those observers will be watching are Ben Nelson and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.).Nelson is expected to face a difficult race, and Kohl saw his home-state colleague, Sen. Russ Feingold (D), lose on Tuesday.

Casey and Conrad also saw Democratic colleagues lose in their home states on Tuesday. And Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE (D-Calif.), who’s up in 2012, watched fellow California Democrat Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerTrump decries 'defund the police' after Boxer attacked Former Sen. Barbara Boxer attacked in California Bottom line MORE fend off a tough challenge from the GOP. 

“It is certainly true that the landscape will be tilted in 2012 in terms of the seats at risk,” said Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report. “[Democrats] will be defending more seats, so they could have more losses. On the other hand, it depends on the mood of the public.”

 The other Democratic incumbents up next cycle are Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards The glass ceiling that diverse Senate staff still face Frustration builds as infrastructure talks drag MORE (Del.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellBiden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on Congress must act now to pass a bipartisan federal privacy law Democrats introduce equal pay legislation for US national team athletes MORE (Wash.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - 2024 GOPers goal: Tread carefully, don't upset Trump MORE (Md.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharOvernight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Four senators call on Becerra to back importation of prescription drugs from Canada Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE (Minn.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezLobbying world This week: Congress starts summer sprint The Innovation and Competition Act is progressive policy MORE (N.J.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate passes bill to award congressional gold medal to first Black NHL player The glass ceiling that diverse Senate staff still face Here's evidence the Senate confirmation process is broken MORE (Mich.).

 The 10 GOP senators facing reelection are John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoFormer Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi dies after bicycle accident Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee | Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan | NJ requiring public water systems to replace lead pipes in 10 years Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee in tie vote MORE (Wyo.), Scott Brown (Mass.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (Tenn.), John Ensign (Nev.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDrug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 Financial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted MORE (Utah), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerHere's evidence the Senate confirmation process is broken Commerce office used racial profiling operating as 'rogue' police force: Senate report Rand Paul introducing measure to repeal public transportation mask mandates MORE (Miss.). 

Of that list, the only senator who could be considered in a “dangerous” position is Brown, who represents Massachusetts, a blue state.

Hutchison could retire. She ran for Texas governor in 2010 but lost in the GOP primary. At the time, Hutchison hinted she could resign her seat; she never committed to running again in 2012.

Ensign could leave the Senate if he faces charges stemming from the fallout of an affair he had with a former staffer.

An unknown factor for the Republicans is the Tea Party. The grassroots movement took down several party favorites in GOP primaries this year and has threatened to do the same next cycle.

Already, Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah), a Tea Party favorite, has said he’d consider challenging Hatch in the 2012 GOP primary.

Additionally, Republicans could always be doomed on pocketbook issues. If the economy rebounds, President Obama could be credited in the eyes of some voters. If it stays sluggish, voters could blame the GOP.

The top three Senate Democrats launched a strategy on that front on Wednesday, putting Republicans on notice that they expected cooperation now that the minority party is more powerful.

 “We have made the message very clear that we want to work with Republicans,” said Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWarner backing 'small carve-out' on filibuster for voting rights Senate hopefuls embrace nuking filibuster Biden fails to break GOP 'fever' MORE (D-Nev.). “If they’re unwilling to work with us, there’s not a thing we can do about that, but the American people can see that like a very slow curveball.”

Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University, notes that the Republican revolution of 1994, ushered in by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), dealt a major blow to President Clinton — though Clinton won reelection in 1996.

“My thesis is, we’re going to have a miserable two years, but this time not all the blame will go to the president,” Gans said. “Nobody knows what the climate will be in 2012.”

 Rothenberg agreed, saying much depends on the messaging and issues that will dominate the political landscape over the next two years.

 “There’s probably not likely to be as stark of a choice in 2012 as this year — however, it’s also true that most people think the president’s party runs things. It’s not as easy for Democrats to just say, ‘They share responsibility, too.’ ”