According to CNN
Although Democrats gained a decisive majority in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, their hopes are fading for a filibuster-proof 60 seats.
Four hotly contested Senate races hang in the balance: Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon.
Democrats needed to add nine seats to their current caucus of 51 (49 Democrats and two independents allied with them) to gain enough of a majority to push legislation through the Senate unimpeded.
It takes 60 votes to invoke cloture, a device to end filibusters, the unlimited floor speeches by an opponent that can prevent legislation from coming up for a vote.
Having added five seats Tuesday, Democrats would need to sweep the four remaining undecided races to reach 60.
Each of these four races had a strong independent or alternative party candidate in the race: Alaskan Independent Bob Bird, Georgia Libertarian Allen Buckley, the Minnesota Independence Party’s Dean Barkley, and Oregon Constitution Party candidate Dave Brownlow.
The CNN article
also points out that even if the Democrats end up winning all four contests, Senator Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats but supported McCain, might switch to the Republican caucus.
Minnesota will probably have a recount, and Georgia will probably have a runoff election. Alaska Senator Stevens, who has just become a convicted felon, may not be seated by the Senate even if he does win the election.