The promising news for Republicans is that Democrats must defend 21 of the 35 Senate seats on the ballot next year. Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana and North Carolina are among them, states that Obama lost and where incumbents will be seeking new terms.
Much of the early attention has focused on Iowa and Georgia.
Georgia last elected a Democrat to the Senate nearly two decades ago, and the party is in search of a top-rank contender. At the same time, officials claim renewed interest.
Among Republicans, Rep. Paul Broun has announced he will run, and Price and other members of the state’s delegation are also considering candidacies.
All are conservatives, although Broun in particular has drawn attention for some of his remarks since coming to Congress five years ago.
He has said that evolution and the Big Bang theory are ‘‘lies straight from the pit of hell,’’ and said before Obama took office he feared the then president-elect would establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.
Broun’s target voters are plain as he embarks on his statewide campaign. In a poke at potential primary challengers, his campaign website says that since 2007 the congressman has sponsored ‘‘more legislation to reduce federal spending that any other member of Congress from Georgia.’’ It adds he has never voted to raise taxes or the government debt ceiling, never supported earmarks, opposed all bailout deals and authored a balanced budget amendment.
In Iowa, a political swing state, public opinion polls indicate Republican Rep. Tom Latham would be the stronger Republican candidate in a fall matchup with Rep. Bruce Braley, the only announced Democrat so far.
But early surveys also suggest a second Republican, Rep. Steve King has an advantage among potential primary voters.
Latham is a low-key congressional veteran, a close friend of Speaker John Boehner and the chairman of an Appropriations Committee panel that sets spending for transportation programs.
With an outspoken style, King is best known for his strenuous opposition to citizenship for illegal immigrants and his penchant for incendiary remarks.
Neither man has announced plans to run, but King has staked out his ground.
‘‘I'm no stranger to outlandish attacks like this,’’ he said in an emailed request for donations after officials with Rove’s group cited some of his past comments as possibly problematic.
‘‘Nobody can bully me out of running for the U.S. Senate, not even Karl Rove and his hefty war chest.’’