Sen. Joe Manchin, DW. Va., is holding a news conference about energy reform at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Democrats increased their Senate majority in 2022. They’ll be lucky to keep those gains in 2024.
Republicans, who took over the House after November’s midterm elections, hope to replicate that victory in the Senate next year. They have reason to be hopeful: Democrats face a daunting Senate map in 2024 that puts them on the defensive in 23 of the cycle’s 34 races, including many seats considered ripe for GOP challenges.
In some of the tightest contests, Democrats are trying to hold on to Senate seats in states that voted for former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
The grim outlook has some Senate Democrats are considering retirement, even after the caucus expanded to a 51-49 majority following a better-than-expected showing in the midterms.
Here are some of the top Senate races to watch:
Sen. Joe Manchin may be one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, but his party affiliation still threatens his re-election chances in deep-red West Virginia, which favored Trump by nearly 40 percentage points in 2020.
That may be why Manchin still hasn’t announced whether he intends to run again — or why he’s resisted publicly identifying himself as a Democrat.
Manchin’s potential Republican challengers aren’t waiting for the incumbent to reveal his plans. Rep. Alex Mooney, backed by Trump for his successful 2022 House race, has already secured a $10 million pledge of support from the conservative Club for Growth for his Senate primary run.
Manchin’s campaign had $9.7 million in cash on hand at the end of March, FEC filings show showed up.
But Manchin’s biggest possible GOP rival is West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who is reported to be the state’s richest man and one of the favored opponents for the Senate race.
Election analysts at Sabato’s Crystal Ball in January gave West Virginia a “Leans R” rating, making it the weakest Democrat-held Senate seat of the cycle.
Manchin, who won him over 2018 The Senate race, by nearly three percentage points, has recently put some distance between him and his fellow Democrats. He even promised to vote withdraw the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden’s signature spending bill that Manchin helped pass, while complaining to Fox News that the administration had broken its word.
Both Democrats and Republicans are targeting the Arizona seat held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who in late 2022 left the Democratic Party to become a free
The move from Sinema, which continues to meet with Democrats, allows him to skip a potentially explosive Senate primary race and compete directly in the general election.
But the move does not guarantee him a path to victory in the state, which is considered a toss-up and a prime acquisition opportunity. Sinema has not yet announced if he will be re-elected in 2024.
Once considered a progressive Democrat, Sinema has taken a moderate tack in recent years. He drew criticism from some in his former party because of him vote against raising the minimum wage and him opposition in changing the filibuster.
He now faces a potential challenge from his left in Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, which has already been reported outraised Cinema as he fights for his job.
Republican Sheriff Mark Lamb also entered the race. He could face a GOP primary against Kari Lake, the former TV news anchor who lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs in Arizona’s 2022 gubernatorial race and is now considering a Senate bid.
If Sinema runs, Arizona’s Senate race could become a three-way matchup. It’s far from clear who will have the upper hand in the swing state, which Biden won against Trump in 2020 by less than one percentage point.
While the independent Cinema label can appeal in a state where the registration with the two main parties is rival of “Other,” polls show the senator holding on not famous.
Sen. Jon Tester is one of three Democrats in the 2024 cycle defending a seat in a state that voted for Trump in the last presidential election. The former Republican president won Montana by about 16 points in 2020.
Tester’s seat is considered a Sabato’s Crystal Ball toss-up, even by the Cook Political Report said the seat was tilted in favor of the Democrats.
of the Tester decision to run again is welcome news for Democrats, who have otherwise lost their current advantage in a solid-red state.
But he could still face a formidable threat from his Republican opponent. Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Rep. Matt Rosendale and Gov. Greg Gianforte has been eye as possible opponents.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has held his seat since 2007, and he has announced his plans for a fourth term in office.
But the 2024 Senate race in Ohio is currently considered a toss-up, as Republicans have done significant gains in the state in the last two election cycles.
Trump won the Buckeye State by more than eight points in 2020, and the GOP candidates he endorsed, including Sen. JD Vance and Gov. Mike DeWine, won the midterms.
Matt Dolan, a state senator and partial owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball team who is running in the 2022 Republican Senate primary, is running for Brown’s seat in 2024. Bernie Moreno, another Republican contender for the Senate seat, drew scrutiny when he proposed having reparation for descendants of Union Civil War soldiers “who died to save the lives of Black people.”
Democrats in 2024 will defend an open Senate seat in Michigan, a swing state that voted for Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow The surprise decision not to seek a fifth term erased the Democrats’ current advantage in the seat, with no clear successor lined up to run at the time.
Democrats won big victories in Michigan in the 2022 midterms, controlling the state House and Senate and securing another term for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Republicans Michael Hoover and Nikki Snyder entered the race for Stabenow’s Senate seat.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who won a tight House re-election battle in the midterms, is seen as the leading contender for the seat. Slotkin was endorsed in 2022 by former Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican whose vocal criticism of Trump following the disturbance at the Capitol on Jan. 6 caused a break with her party’s leadership and most of its rank and file in the House.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report both say Michigan’s Senate race is leaning Democratic.
Unlike most of the other races on this list, in the California race there is little question that Democrats will hold the Senate seat slated to open in 2024.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who held office for three decades, at age 89 announced that she retire at the end of his current term.
At that time, many Democrats launched their campaigns for his job. The list of declared candidates so far includes Reps. Adam Schiff Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, with more potential on the way.
Feinstein, the oldest member of the US Senate, took a month’s spring vacation because of health problems. Concerns about Feinstein’s fitness for office quickly became a point of contention among Democrats, with some openly calling for the senator’s immediate impeachment. resignation and others defending him. Feinstein’s absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee is slow down Efforts by Democrats to advance Biden’s judicial nominees.
have fun narrow Nevada lost to Biden in 2020, and his preferred Republican candidate, Adam Laxalt, lost in a much closer race for the seat of Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in 2022.
Now the other Democratic state senator, Jacky Rosen, is looking for re-election in 2024. His slate of potential Republican challengers looks slim right now.
Laxalt’s name has come up as a potential Senate candidate in 2024, but the former Nevada attorney general in April signed on to help lead a super PAC urging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president in 2024.