WASHINGTON — All along, the biggest question in this election was whether Republicans could take over the Senate and add it to their solid House majority.

Republicans need to gain six net seats to do so. Three, in states where Democrats are retiring, seem nearly certain: West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota.

Republicans’ chief targets elsewhere are Democrats running for re-election in states that President Barack Obama lost: Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina.

Three other possibilities — Iowa’s open seat, and strong challenges to Democratic senators in Colorado and New Hampshire — give Republicans multiple paths to a Senate majority.

Five things to


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