This class of Obama represents perennial swing states like New Hampshire, bluer states like Minnesota, or reliably red states like Alaska. If they can hang on in 2014, the party will probably extend its eight-year majority in the Senate. But any cracks in the Democratic firewall would probably give
Here's a snapshot of the candidates and what they face in 2014:
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Begich narrowly unseated an Alaska legend, longtime Sen.
2008 results: Begich 47.8%, Stevens 46.5%; Obama 37.9%, McCain 59.4%
Obama approval rating*: 33.5%
Potential opponents: 2010 Senate nominee
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Obama accepted his party's nomination for president in 2008 before more than 80,000 supporters at a football stadium in Denver. Udall, then a congressman, eagerly campaigned with him that year and joined him again in the closing days of his 2012 reelection campaign. Now, Udall is feeling the heat from voters over the problematic rollout of Obamacare, and in November proposed allowing individuals to keep canceled plans for two more years.
2008 results: Udall 52.8%, Schaffer 42.5%; Obama 53.5%, McCain 44.9%
Obama approval rating*: 42.3%
Potential opponents: 2010 Senate nominee Ken Buck, state Rep. Amy Stephens
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Franken, the former
2008 results: Franken 41.9%, Coleman 41.9%; Obama 54.2%, McCain 44%
Obama approval rating*: 48.2%
Potential opponents: businessman Mike McFadden, state Rep. Jim Abeler, state Sen. Julianne Ortman
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Jeanne Shaheen's 2008 victory against Republican Sen. John Sununu was part of a clean sweep for Democrats in New Hampshire that year. It also made Shaheen the first woman in U.S. history to serve as both a senator and governor, which she did over three terms from 1997 to 2003. Her race will test whether her deep ties to the state win out over the problems of Obamacare in New Hampshire. Republican hopes may depend on whether former Massachusetts Sen.
2008 results: Shaheen 51.6%, Sununu 45.3%; Obama 54.4%, McCain 44.7%
Obama approval rating*: 44.6%
Potential opponents: former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, former
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2008 results: Udall 61.3%, Pearce 38.7%; Obama 56.7%, McCain 42.0%
Obama approval rating*: 45.0%
Potential opponents: 2010 gubernatorial candidate Allen Weh
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Merkley's victory over incumbent Republican
2008 results: Merkley 48.9%, Smith 45.6%; Obama 57.1%, McCain 40.0%
Obama approval rating*: 45.4%
Potential opponents: physician Monica Wehby, state Rep. Jason Conger
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The 2008 Virginia Senate race pitted two of the commonwealth's former governors against each other: Warner and Republican Jim Gilmore. But the race was never close. Warner, who had left office in 2006 with strong popularity, easily defeated Gilmore, as Obama made history by becoming the first Democrat in generations to carry Virginia. Warner was seen as one of the safest Democrats ahead of the 2014 election. But former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie decided to enter the race in January, sensing an opportunity to take advantage of a national anti-Obama wave.
2008 results: Warner 65.0%, Gilmore 33.7%; Obama 52.7%, McCain 46.3%
Obama approval rating*: 46.4%
Potential opponents: former RNC chair Ed Gillespie
*Obama approval rating based on Gallup data, released Jan. 27.