Senate Primary Races Head Out in 2023 as Democrats Face Tough 2024 Map

  • The 2024 Senate elections – which run concurrently with the presidential race – are fast approaching.
  • Democrats need to protect many vulnerable incumbents in swing and GOP-heavy states.
  • However, the party has had their own in the last three cycles navigating difficult Senate races.

In the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats defied political expectations by holding onto their Senate majority, with every incumbent securing reelection and then-Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman flipping the open seat vacated by retired Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

Not only will Democrats retain control of the chamber in January, but the upper chamber will move from a 50-50 split — with control of the Senate now dependent on Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking abilities — to 51 -49 majority led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in New York. Despite the transfer of Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from the Democratic Party to register as an Independent, she will continue to keep her committee assignments through her former party, and the legislator herself downplayed any idea that she would change her voting habits.

However, the class of senators who were elected and re-elected in 2018 — a year of the Democratic wave that saw many vulnerable red-state members of the party win and lose — will face a challenging map of 2024.

Much of the party’s performance will be tied to President Joe Biden, who has not yet announced whether he will run for reelection, although he is expected to do so. But former President Donald Trump — whose political brand took a big hit last month after he endorsed several candidates who lost their races — has already thrown his hat into the race.

In 2024, 34 seats will be up for grabs, including 20 currently held by Democrats, 11 currently held by Republicans, and three currently held by Independents.

Here are some of the key states likely to be targeted by both parties:


Sinema’s party change has caused nervousness among the Democrats while they were still rejoicing in the victory of Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, but members of the majority were assured that his decision would not affect the party’s ability to act on legislation and approve judicial nominations. However, the choice of Cinema itself is another matter; he has not yet announced whether he will run for reelection in 2024. If he does run again, he will set himself up for an epic battle with Rep. Ruben Gallego, who announced his campaign for the Democratic nomination in January 2023 and earlier. stage of the race is the most popular candidate for the party.

Both Sinema and Gallego could very well end up in a three-way race with a Republican candidate, which could alienate Democratic-leaning voters and give the GOP a much-coveted victory. Gallego could also rally support among grassroots Democrats — who have grown increasingly disenchanted with Sinema over his opposition to changing filibuster rules to pass key voting rights legislation — along with Independents. which angered the incumbent lawmaker.

The aforementioned scenarios will not only complicate Sinema’s position in the Senate, but will force the Democrats to decide whether they will support his candidacy or back down from Gallego. Democrats have made big inroads in Arizona in recent years, and the party wants to keep the seat out of Republican hands.

Potential GOP candidates include 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and 2022 Senate nominee Blake Masters, who was defeated by Gov. Katie Hobbs and Sen. Mark Kelly, respectively. Jim Lamon, a former solar energy executive who ran for the party’s nomination last year, is also being discussed as a potential candidate.

Debbie Stabenow

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin


Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a popular lawmaker now in her fourth term, announced in January that she would not run for reelection next year.

Stabenow, the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was most recently re-elected in 2018 by 6.5% against now-GOP Rep. John James.

Republicans desperately want to flip this seat, but Michigan Democrats had a banner year in November — sweeping top statewide offices and taking back control of the entire legislature — and Biden is expected to compete. fix the state if he runs for reelection.

Potential Democratic candidates for the Senate race include Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II; Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; Rep. Debbie Dingell, Elissa Slotkin, and Rashida Tlaib; and former Rep. Brenda Lawrence.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Rep. Haley Stevens, and state Sen. Mallory McMorrow have all ruled out Senate campaigns.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a January interview with MSNBC that he intends to remain in his current position.

Nikki Snyder, a member of the Michigan State Board of Education, is the first Republican to announce a candidate for the Senate seat.

Other GOP candidates who may be in the race include James, Rep. Lisa McClain, former Reps. Peter Meijer and Mike Rogers, and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon.


Democratic Sen. Jon Tester is a political survivor, having first won conservative-leaning Montana in 2006 before winning tough reelection contests in 2012 and 2018.

And Tester hopes to continue the streak, announcing in February that he will seek a fourth term in the Senate in 2024.

Despite the Republican orientation of the state, Tester has a strong political brand and was able to appeal to many Independents and Republicans in the state in the previous elections. But GOP leaders in Washington continue to eye his seat.

Reps. Matt Rosendale and Ryan Zinke are potential candidates on the Republican side.


Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen is running for a second term in office in one of the most competitive battleground states in the country. In 2018, Rosen, then a first-term congresswoman, ousted then-GOP Sen. Dean Heller for 5 points.

In 2024, Rosen will run for reelection when Nevada becomes a prime target for future presidential nominees of both parties.

Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib


Sherrod Brown, who was also elected to the Senate in 2006, is running for a fourth term. He maintained a strong populist connection with his constituents despite the continued reddening of Ohio, once the nation’s primary swing state.

Republicans have targeted this seat, but Brown has proven to be an effective candidate adept at winning over Independents and even a sliver of conservative voters.

GOP state Sen. Matt Dolan, who is also running for the US Senate in 2022 but has missed the Republican primary so far-Sen. JD Vance, seeking the party’s nomination.


Bob Casey Jr. has won all three of his Senate races handily since being elected to the upper chamber in 2006. If he runs again, he will have the benefit of running as a Democrat in a presidential year where the turnout of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are probably very high. However, Casey has also generally done well in most of the state’s working-class towns and cities, and could post an electoral performance similar to Fetterman’s.

Potential Republicans who could enter the race include former 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano.

West Virginia

Senator Joe Manchin has yet to announce his intentions for 2024, but he is likely the only Democrat to hold the seat in a challenging state for his party. West Virginia is Trump’s second-best performing state in the 2020 election, so Manchin will need to win more ticket-splitters to secure another term in the nation’s capital. But he’s done it before, winning in 2018 despite Republicans clamoring to defeat him.

It has been announced by GOP Rep. Alex Mooney that he will run for the seat.

Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin


Sen. Tammy Baldwin hasn’t said whether she’ll seek a third term in the upper chamber, but even in Wisconsin’s polarized politics, she’s managed to win over more rural and suburban voters in addition to racking up more Democratic margin. -heavy population centers of Milwaukee and Madison.

Republicans will almost certainly try to field a strong candidate, but Baldwin has managed to navigate the divisions in his state in a way that has angered members of both parties.

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