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As polls close in East, Senate races in Kentucky, Florida, West Virginia are closely watched

The key contests will test the strength of 'tea party' favorites Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida. In West Virginia, a loss by Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin could help hand the Senate to the GOP.

November 02, 2010|By Michael Muskal | Los Angeles Times

Polls began closing Tuesday evening in the East as the midterm election cycle entered its last phase -- the results.

The first polls to close, at 6 p.m. EDT, are in parts of Kentucky and Indiana, with closely watched Florida coming an hour later. Thirty minutes after that, the crucial West Virginia polls close.

Political observers will be watching if "tea party" movement favorite Rand Paul, the Republican, wins the Senate race in Kentucky.

In Florida, the test is whether another tea party darling, Marco Rubio, wins a Senate seat in a three-way race.

Both seats are held by Republicans who are retiring.

In West Virginia, Gov. Joe Manchin, the Democrat, is locked in a close race for a Senate seat.

If Republicans can capture the West Virginia seat, it be a pickup toward the 10 seats the GOP would need to win majority control of the Senate.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

Twitter.com/LATimesmuskal

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