Louisiana Democratic senator in tight race against GOP challenger

The congressional elections are now eight days away.

But if they were held today, our CBS Battleground Tracker shows the Republicans would take back control of the Senate. The Democrats now have a 55-45 majority. We estimate the GOP would win six seats to control with the slimmest of margins, 51-49.

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The CBS Battleground Tracker shows Democrats hold the U.S. Senate currently, but if midterm elections were held today, Republicans would take back control of the Senate.
CBS News

It is a tough year for Democrats. Even the chair of the powerful Senate Energy Committee is trailing in oil-rich Louisiana.

Democrat Mary Landrieu comes from a big political family, so campaigning is in her blood. Her record is 10 events in one day. She even hit a keg party recently and gave the "wobble" dance a go with a group of tailgaters.

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U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) speaks to supporters during a "Women with Mary" campaign event on October 22, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Sean Gardner, Getty Images

But it's her poll numbers that are wobbly as Landrieu seeks a forth term in a state that has moved steadily to the right. President Obama lost here by 17 points in 2012.

"President Obama's not on this ballot," she said. "This is about who's going to represent Louisiana for the next six years."

According to the latest CBS estimate, Landrieu leads her GOP opponent Bill Cassidy by five points in a three-way race that includes a Tea Party candidate

But state rules call for a December runoff between the top two candidates if no one gets above 50 percent. An in a head-to-head matchup, she trails Cassidy by four points.

Cassidy, a congressman and physician, ties Landrieu to the president at every turn. He says he feels "fantastic" about the race.

"She has already for the last six years made the U.S. Senate a rubber stamp for Barack Obama," said Cassidy.

So on the stump, Landrieu has touted the money she steered to the state after Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

Cassidy claims she's overstating her influence. He was asked about the millions brought into the state by Landrieu after the natural disasters.

"Our delegation brought millions to the state," Cassidy shot back.

Outside groups are so sure this race will go to a runoff they've already booked hotel rooms for their operatives and reserved millions of dollars worth of ad time. And if control of the Senate hangs on the outcome of this runoff, Louisiana will become -- as one Democrat put it -- a political circus.