Jan 25, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Republicans savor 2024 Senate map

Illustration: Sarah Grillo, Shoshana Gordon/Axios

After last year's midterm fail, Republicans are licking their chops at an enviable outlook for snatching the Senate majority in '24.

Why it matters: The four Senate tossup races are in red (West Virginia, Ohio, Montana) or swing (Arizona) states — part of a strongly GOP-favorable '24 Senate map.

"Democrats on Defense," The Cook Political Report headlined its opening Senate race ratings (subscription).

  • 23 Ds are up for reelection — and just 11 Rs.

"Democrats are defending all 3 seats they hold in states that Donald Trump carried for president in 2020 — Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia," notes Sabato's Crystal Ball, from the UVA Center for Politics.

Here's a Senate cheat sheet

1. West Virginia: This is the GOP's best pickup opportunity, since it's the second-most Trump-friendly state on the map.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat who can win in this red state — but he's no guarantee to run for a third term.
  • Popular Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.), a former Democrat, is strongly considering a run. He'd be the toughest GOP opponent Manchin faced in his long political career.

2. Ohio: Ohio, a one-time battleground, is fast becoming Republican turf, with the GOP scoring a clean sweep in last year's midterms. But Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has an enviable brand as a labor-friendly Democrat who has won over blue-collar voters that drifted to Trump.

  • He has already announced he's all-in for a tough campaign.
  • Republicans expect a crowded primary to challenge him.

3. Montana: The GOP's ability to pick up the seat held by Sen. Jon Tester (D) comes down to candidate recruitment — and whether the popular red-state senator runs for re-election.

  • Republicans are worried that two prospective challengers have serious political baggage: Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) lost to Tester in 2018, and hails from the hard-right wing of the House GOP caucus. Rep. Ryan Zinke resigned as Interior Secretary amid ethics investigations.

4. Arizona: Democrats fear that a potential three-way race, with Democratic voters split between Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), could hand the seat to Republicans.

  • Most of the rumored GOP candidates hail from the MAGA wing of the party — including losing 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
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