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The Next U.S. Senate Cycle

Posted on Monday, January 16, 2023
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AMAC Exclusive – By Barry Casselman

Senate

A preliminary look at what might happen in the elections for the U.S. Senate in November 2024 appears promising for Republicans to regain control. But as predictions and expectations demonstrated in 2022, election forecasting can be a perilous undertaking.

The 2024 cycle reverses 2022, however, in that almost twice as many Democrat incumbent seats as Republican seats (22 to 12) will be on the ballot. In 2022, 23 GOP incumbent seats versus 11 for Democrats were at stake.

The 2022 results finished, however, with the net loss of only one Republican seat, although conservatives had anticipated gaining seats in a “red wave” that failed to materialize.

The 2024 cycle, unlike 2022, will also include the presidential contest, an event that is likely to shape to some degree down-ballot races for Congress and governors. That quadrennial contest looks to be a particularly inimitable event, with an 82-year-old incumbent possibly challenged for renomination within his own party, pitted against a 78-year-old former president who will be challenged for his nomination. Those confrontations, as of now, don’t even have a known cast of characters, and this further clouds the 2024 U.S Senate races.

One difference between the next and the previous cycles is that while there was a fairly equal number of races which were in play in 2022, the next cycle already has 8-10 vulnerable Democrat Senate seats, yet none of the GOP incumbent seats appear yet to be up for grabs. With 20 months before the election, however, this might change.

One Democrat, Senator Stabenow of Michigan, and one Republican, Senator Braun of Indiana, have already announced their retirements. Other retirements are quite possible, including Senator Feinstein of California. The Braun and Feinstein seats are not vulnerable, but the Stabenow seat is now in play. Additionally, Senator Sasse of Nebraska has resigned, but he was replaced by appointment with fellow Republican and former Governor Pete Ricketts, who is likely to win in 2024.

In Arizona, incumbent Kyrsten Sinema left the Democrat Party and is now technically an independent, but she continues to caucus with her old party. An Arizona congressman has said he will challenge her as a Democrat, but a three-way race would present a strong possibility for a GOP pick-up.

Incumbent Democrat Senator Jackie Rosen in Nevada is considered vulnerable if Republicans put up a strong candidate such as Adam Laxalt, who almost won in 2022.

Montana is heavily Republican, but Democrat Jon Tester has won there in the past. His seat is high on the list of GOP targets in the next election.

Virginia Democrat Senator Tim Kaine could face the popular Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, who is term-limited, in 2024.

David McCormick, who almost won the 2022 GOP Senate nomination in Pennsylvania, is thinking of running against incumbent Democrat Bob Casey next cycle. Casey recently announced he has a serious medical condition, and could retire. McCormick would likely be formidable against any Democrat.

Wisconsin re-elected GOP Senator Ron Johnson in 2022, and a serious conservative could pose a serious challenge to incumbent Democrat Senator Tammy Baldwin in 2024 if the presidential election has a popular GOP figure at the top of the ballot.

Senator Joe Manchin is the only remaining elected Democrat holding a statewide position in now heavily red West Virginia. It appears now that he will have a major GOP opponent in 2024. This will be another top Republican target pick-up race.

Ohio continues to be a heavily red state, and elected a new Republican senator in 2022. Incumbent liberal Democrat Sherrod Brown, as does his colleague Jon Tester in Montana, continues to win his re-elections in an otherwise conservative state, but could be vulnerable in 2024 if there is a strong Republican candidate.

Incumbent New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez is not yet on most 2024 vulnerable lists, but he continues to be mired in controversies, and the 2021 state gubernatorial race was unexpectedly close. A serious Republican opponent could make this into a battleground contest.

Looking over the list of GOP Senate incumbents up for re-election, it is difficult to foresee any of them, even with retirements, facing a serious challenge in 2024, especially in a year with a competitive presidential race.

It is, of course, extremely unlikely that Democrats will lose all or most of their vulnerable seats, but with only the very narrow majority they now hold, a net pick-up of only 3-5 seats in 2024 would restore a solid conservative majority in the U.S. Senate.

The GOP has considerable work ahead to achieve victory in 2024. First and foremost, they need to recruit strong candidates who can successfully challenge vulnerable Democratic incumbents (something they often did not do in recent cycles). Secondly, they must choose a presidential candidate who will appeal to the critical independent voting bloc in battleground states. Third, they will need Democrats to continue failing to perform well in a volatile economy. Finally, they will need to master the new political campaign environment, something they did not effectively do in 2018, 2020, or 2022.

The Republican Party and its leaders are being given a rare opportunity to reverse the actions and policies of the Democrats which they so fervently oppose. They did not fully do this in the cycle just completed, and if they fall short again, they might not have a similar opportunity for a very long time.

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Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Will Lose Senate if we dont adopt Dems mode to WIN:
Elections
Outreach
with Campaign backup
Or lose 2024
& new blood for RNC

Paul F.
Paul F.
1 year ago

This article seems to be positive. However the elephant, no pun intended, is that the dems are adroit at cheating and I believe they will continue to steal elections.

Patricia A Arsenault
Patricia A Arsenault
1 year ago

All I know is that I don’t trust congress and others anymore. This is sad and feels so divided as a country, we all have to stay strong and pray that we will see some kind of relief or “something”! It feels like we are going into Socialism. 🙁

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Two ovious issues have to be addressed ahead of the 2024 Senatorial elections for any supposed “red wave” to occur as the author is trying to suggest:

1) Restoration of the voting system that was in place in this country prior to 2020. Absent that, the Democrats will continue to control the Senate. Sorry, but that is just the reality of how the vote counts will end up if the current voting system remains in place. That means the people have to make a whole lot of noise between now and early 2024 to force the various state legislatures to do what they should have done once the so-called Covid emergency was obviously over.

2) Both the RNC and Mitch McConnell CAN NOT do a repeat of what they did in the 2022 midterms. By that I mean:

A) McConnell CAN NOT provide campaign donations to any Democrat running for election or re-election because he doesn’t like the Republican Senate nominee on the ticket for any reason.
B) McConnell CAN NOT pull or withhold any campaign donations from any Republican running
for election or re-election because that candidate has stated they won’t vote for him to be the Senate Majority Leader.
C) Both the RNC and McConnell have to do a w-a-y better job of messaging in 2024. The GOP messaging strategy in 2022 was nearly nonexistent. Sitting back and expecting the Senate will be handed to the Republicans is NOT a campaign strategy or any form of effective election cycle messaging.

Finally, articles where the author tries to suggest we will have some sort of major Republican win simply because there are more Democrat seats up for grabs in 2024 are idiotic. People don’t vote based on how many seats are up for grabs. They vote in their states for what the people running for office are committed to doing for the voting public, if they are placed in positions of power. So stick with effective and concise messaging, a clear set of deliverables that you will deliver to the American people, if you are granted the Senate majority, and focus on putting the RINOs out to pasture and replacing them with fiscally responsible constitutional conservatives, that actually want to work for the American people that elect them.

Robin Walter Boyd
Robin Walter Boyd
1 year ago

I really wish we would stop focusing on political parties and focus more on who will better represent American citizens overall rather than special interest groups with good lobbyists. I have no problem supporting some decent Democrats.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Interesting article.

Pat R
Pat R
1 year ago

Want McConnell to GO, get out of Senate & take his Chan wife with him. Would love to see Youngkin replace Tim Kaine. He needs to go just like Terry McAuliffe, both real losers.

A Voter
A Voter
1 year ago

Discussions on what may or may not happen in WishyWashington DC can continue until the end of time and things will only continue to get worse. How many times have we had Republicans in charge of the House and Senate with no real change in direction? Too many to even think if we just get control again we will see some changes. In Trumps term as president we did see some real changes for the better, but those changes had very little to do with either the House or Senate. Trump accomplished things that both sides of the isles in the House and Senate had promised but then we were told nonsense like “Welllll… changing this is just a lot more complicated than we thought it was going to be.” Decipher using my own personal Politician’s BS decoder ring this translates to “It does nothing for my financial portfolio, so I am not going to tackle this.” How and why was Trump to do what he did? That’s easy. Trump is not a politician, Trump is a LEADER. Why did Trump receive so little support even from his own party? Because he is an outsider and does not play the political rules set forth by that prestigious law firm of Lying, Dewy, Cheatem and How.
There is only one action that can really save this country for the long haul. If and ONLY IF enough State Governors demand the Federal Government cease and disist treading on the rights of the States as they are spelled out in the Constitution. There is no other way to end this nonsense coming out of the DC cesspool.
George Carlin said it best when he said “They don’t give a f**k about you.”

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