Now, the GOP is investigating other paths to a majority, paths that meander through more Democratic-leaning states like Connecticut and Maine, and through more entrenched Democratic incumbents in Florida and Ohio.

Republicans have plenty of opportunities to get to the 51 seats they would need to control the Senate outright. Polling shows Sen. Ben Nelson’s seat in Nebraska is almost certain to turn red, while Sen. Jon Tester is running slightly behind Rep. Denny Rehberg in a recent Mason-Dixon survey in Montana. But Republican candidates are running behind expectations in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Indiana, and vulnerable Republican incumbents in Massachusetts and Nevada give Democrats room to expand the playing field. Polls even show longer-shot Democratic hopes like Arizona narrowing as voters tune in.