Rand Paul, the Republicans' candidate for Kentucky's Senate seat in the 2010 midterm elections. (Flickr/gageskidmore)
The past two election cycles have not been kind to the Republican Party. Since 2006, the GOP has lost 14 seats in the U.S. Senate and 54 seats in the House of Representatives. So naturally Republicans have been looking forward to the 2010 midterm elections. Not since 1994 have they gone into an election cycle with such high expectations. With Democrats defending a large number of seats in traditionally Republican territory, unemployment hovering just below 10 percent, and a Democratic president with mediocre approval ratings, Republicans have high hopes of picking up a large number of House and Senate seats and possibly taking control of one or both chambers.