Susan J. Demas: Can Democrats take back the U.S. Senate in 2016?

Last year, Michigan's own Gary Peters became the only freshman Democratic U.S. senator.
He managed to buck the red tide, running a smart campaign against Republican Terri Lynn Land, who turned out to be a startlingly weak opponent.

Aside from Peters' win, 2014 was a bloodbath for the Dems, who lost big races in Iowa, Colorado, Arkansas and Louisiana. That flipped the chamber for the first time since 2006 to the GOP, 54-46. Things were so grim for the D's that they came perilously close to losing their Virginia seat, which no one thought was up for grabs.

So Democrats are naturally relieved that the 2016 landscape is looking considerably better, with the GOP defending 24 seats.

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