When Human Events last looked at the 35 states in which voters are choosing U.S. Senators this fall, we concluded that “Republicans are brimming with confidence about gaining at least the four seats they need” to turn the Senate’s present 53-to-47 seat Democratic edge into a GOP majority.

Nearly four months later, that confidence has clearly grown. Of those 35 Senate races, eighteen can be considered truly competitive. The seats of all seven retiring Democratic senators are in that category: Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Jim Webb (Va.), and Herb Kohl (Wis.). In addition, no less than seven Democratic incumbent senators are facing spirited challenges from Republican opponents.