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Senate, House races turn snarky, personal

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 11:20 a.m. CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Short on time and tempers, House and Senate candidates in tight races are turning snarky and personal in their attacks on their opponents.

The stakes, and the unpleasantness, are highest in the race for control of the Senate, where Republicans need to gain four seats to win the majority — only three if Republican Paul Ryan becomes vice president and, in his role as Senate president, breaks any tie votes.

In Massachusetts, GOP Sen. Scott Brown witheringly mocks Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American heritage. In Montana, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester pummels Rep. Denny Rehberg for suing a local fire department. Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller calls his opponent, Democratic Rep. Shelly Berkley, “the most corrupt” person he’s ever met.

Across the land, candidates are launching incendiary attacks on each other in the final, fretful days of an election year colored by margin-of-error races that have refused to budge.

In the battle for control of the Senate, neither Republicans nor Democrats have put away enough seats to tip the balance of power. Republicans are favored to hold onto the House, where Democrats need to net 25 seats to regain control, but both parties want to win as many seats as possible.

Many candidates have maximized the support they can get by selling their own records and accomplishments and are now going negative, seeking to damage an opponent’s credentials and depress his or her support.