The Eight Most Vulnerable Senate Democrats in 2024
The Hill has an
on the eight most vulnerable Senate Democrats, ranked from most vulnerable to least vulnerable. Here is how they have it:
- Joe Manchin (WV): Even though Manchin has done his best to irritate the Democrats, he has
to run in a state that went for Donald Trump by nearly 40 points. That's going to be his biggest challenge ever.
Nevertheless, he has won six statewide elections in the past, including one for secretary of state, two for governor,
and three for senator. Everybody in West Virginia knows who he is. His biggest argument is that he now has a lot of
seniority and can bring home the bacon. A newly elected Republican, would be at the bottom of the totem pole.
Term-limited Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV), a coal billionaire and the richest man in West Virginia, has said he is
considering challenging Manchin. Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) has already announced, but Justice could bulldoze him easily.
If it is Manchin vs. Justice, another argument Manchin has is: "What does that guy know about life for ordinary people
in this state?" He will probably forget to mention that while he doesn't have Justice-type money, he is also a
millionaire who lives on a yacht when he's in Washington. This is probably the Republicans' biggest pickup opportunity
simply because the state is so red.
- Kyrsten Sinema (AZ): Sinema has a double problem. First she has to get the Democratic
nomination. Then she has to win the general election in a purple state. She is the only Democrat who is likely to face a fierce primary on
account of her voting like a Republican all the time. Everyone is looking at Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), who just won his
Phoenix-based seat with 75% of the vote. He is a Marine Corps veteran (who fought in Iraq) in a state full of veterans,
a Latino in a state full of Latinos, and for the benefit of those much-desired college-educated women, he has a B.A. in
international relations from Harvard. He is also lefty enough that he'd probably raise $10 million the day he announces.
He would be a formidable primary opponent for Sinema. Republicans have a strong bench in Arizona, including Gov. Doug
Ducey and AG Mark Brnovich. However, Democrats won the Senate, gubernatorial, and secretary of state races this year and
possibly the AG race as well. In 2024, the turnout will favor the Democrats more, so Gallego would stand a strong
chance. We are assuming that if he runs, he would beat Sinema because Democrats despise her. Of course, other Democrats
might realize that as well, leading to a nasty multiway primary that Sinema could win.
- Sherrod Brown (OH):
Brown is the only statewide elected Democrat in an increasingly red state.
We looked at
last week and won't repeat that material here. Suffice it to say that he is well-known and popular, but Ohio has become
not very swingy, making this a potential pickup for the Republicans.
- Job Tester (MT): Montana is a strange state. In presidential elections, it is very red.
But otherwise, less so. Democrats held the governor's mansion from 2005 to 2021 and have sent 14 Democrats to the Senate
since 1900, compared to only five Republicans. So the right Democrat can definitely win here. Tester, in particular, has
won three Senate elections, most recently in 2018 by 3½ points. He is well-known and will raise tons of money
from out of state. Nevertheless, he has his work cut out for him.
- Jacky Rosen (NV): Now it starts to get better for the Democrats. Nevada is a
bluish-purple state, not a deep-red state. It hasn't cast its electoral votes for a Republican since 2004 and Sen.
Catherine Cortez Masto (D) was just reelected to the Senate. On the other hand, Joe Lombardo (R) was elected governor.
But that could have been because crime is a big issue and he is sheriff of Clark County (Las Vegas). In a recent poll,
Rosen's approval is at 38%, her disapproval is at 33% and 29% don't have an opinion of her. That gives her room to grow.
Incumbents are hard to dislodge unless they are very unpopular and she is not. Also, presidential years tend to be
good for the Democrats. As to who might challenge her, the new attorney general and secretary of state are Democrats,
but outgoing Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is a Republican. She hasn't indicated if she is interested. Former
Nevada AG Adam Laxalt, who just lost to Masto, could try again. Otherwise it could be Nevada's sole Republican member of
Congress, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), or some state senator.
- Bob Casey (PA): Casey is a three-term incumbent and son of a former Pennsylvania
governor. The Democrats did very well in Pennsylvania on Nov. 8, which bodes well for Casey. Of course, if the
Republicans can find a candidate who: (1) actually lives in Pennsylvania and (2) is not a puppy-killing quack, they
stand a better chance. Casey used to be pro-life buy now he is pro-choice, so that will help him with Democrats.
- Tammy Baldwin (WI): Baldwin has won two statewide elections in Wisconsin, both by very
narrow margins. The state is really on knife's edge. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) was reelected, but so was Gov. Tony Evers
(D-WI). Her approval rating is 46% and her disapproval rating is 37%. If the Republicans can come up with a really
strong candidate, that could make a real horse race of it. But if they can't, Baldwin is the favorite simply because it
is tough to beat an incumbent.
- Debbie Stabenow (MI): We're not sure why Stabenow made this list. She has been elected to
the Senate four time already and Democrats did just fine in Michigan in 2022. Yes, Michigan is a swing state and could
swing the other way in 2024, but the Republicans will have to come up with a very strong candidate to take down a
long-term incumbent Democrat in a presidential year.
Are there any other Democratic senators in any danger? We don't think so unless there is a very unexpected red wave.
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