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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 CaseyDemocrats divided on gun control strategy Senate Democrats call on DHS for details on response to Portland protests Dems' momentum hits quagmire over infrastructure plans MORE Jr. (D-Pa.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden tasks Harris on border; news conference today Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens tangles with Hugh Hewitt in testy interview The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE (D-Mo.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownA bold fix for US international taxation of corporations Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure Former Ohio health director won't run for Senate MORE (D-Ohio), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Democrats wrestle over tax hikes for infrastructure Democrats look to impose capital gains tax at death MORE (D-R.I.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate Lawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Five things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan 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 ManchinClose the avenues of foreign meddling Democrats see political winner in tax fight MSNBC's Joy Reid pans Manchin, Sinema as the 'no progress caucus' MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Manhattan law firm named as lead in Cuomo impeachment investigation Senate Democrats call on DHS for details on response to Portland protests 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 SandersHillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists 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 NelsonTrump hands Rubio coveted reelection endorsement in Florida Overnight Defense: Top House Armed Services Republican talks National Guard at Capitol, Afghanistan, more | Pentagon chief visits Afghanistan amid administration's review | Saudis propose Yemen ceasefire Bill Nelson's nomination as NASA administrator is replete with irony 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 BluntSunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge DC delegate pushes for removing Capitol fence despite car attack Coons says bipartisan infrastructure package 'likely' to be smaller, not fully financed 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 FeinsteinCaitlyn Jenner exploring bid for California governor: report WokeWorld comes for 'oppressor' Obama: Activists rip school being named after 'deporter in chief' Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision MORE (D-Calif.), who’s up in 2012, watched fellow California Democrat Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBottom line Trump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status 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 CarperFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Appeals court agrees to pause lawsuit over Trump-era emissions rule Five things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan MORE (Del.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats Murkowski votes with Senate panel to advance Haaland nomination Regulators keep close eye on Facebook's deal with Australia MORE (Wash.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinWhen it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, what's a moderate Democrat to do? Battle lines drawn on Biden's infrastructure plan GOP senator hammers Biden proposal to raise corporate tax rate MORE (Md.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLobbying world New small business coalition to urge action on antitrust policy Bottom line MORE (Minn.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Biden under pressure to spell out Cuba policy Senators to Biden: 'We must confront the reality' on Iran nuclear program MORE (N.J.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowFive things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand electric vehicle charging tax credit Bottom line MORE (Mich.).

 The 10 GOP senators facing reelection are John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave Lack of cyber funds in Biden infrastructure plan raises eyebrows As Congress considers infrastructure, don't forget rural America MORE (Wyo.), Scott Brown (Mass.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 It's time for Biden's Cuba MORE (Tenn.), John Ensign (Nev.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchPress: Forget bipartisanship — it's dead! Privatization of foster care has been a disaster for children Remembering Ted Kennedy highlights decline of the Senate MORE (Utah), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge Battle lines drawn on Biden's infrastructure plan GOP senator hammers Biden proposal to raise corporate tax rate 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 ReidHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' The Memo: Biden seeks a secret weapon — GOP voters Tensions flare over Senate filibuster 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.’ ”