Monday’s announcement that Republican Dave McCormick would enter the 2024 Pennsylvania Senate race likely gives the GOP their strongest candidate in a tough race, but where do the parties stand on the key 14 races featured in the 2024 election cycle? See state by state analysis below.
Though she hasn’t yet officially declared her 2024 political intentions, there is little doubt that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema* will seek re-election next year as an Independent. Democrats look set with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), and reports suggest that former GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake will announce her Senate campaign in October. Blake Masters, the losing 2022 Republican Senate nominee, has issued a quasi-candidate statement regarding the ’24 race, but insists he will yield to Lake if she ultimately runs. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb is an official GOP candidate and has been campaigning for months.
All three eventual general election participants have a path to victory. The winner will only need between 35-38% of the vote, and all three candidates have that potential. It is important to remember that Ms. Lake, even in a losing effort, received 49.6% of the vote in the 2022 gubernatorial election. This is a true wild card election.
The state’s top-two jungle primary scheduled early for March 5th is likely to send a pair of Democrats to the general election. Chances are good the runoff election will yield a contest between Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Katie Porter (D-Irvine). This means that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and all Republicans would be disqualified. The California Senate race promises to be the second biggest story from Super Tuesday. Though, the recent death of Sen. Diane Feinstein (D) and Governor Gavin Newsom's appointee has the potential to change the predicted primary outcomes.
Sen. Mike Braun (R) is foregoing a second term to enter the open Governor’s race. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) appears to be the prohibitive favorite in both the May 7th Republican primary and the general election. The Indiana Senate contest looks to evolve into an easy Republican open seat hold.
Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D) retirement leaves a highly competitive open Democratic primary in his wake. Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) is already using his prolific personal wealth to run advertising that attempts to position him to the left of his major opponent. That individual is Prince Georges County Executive Angela Alsobrooks who is a significant factor in the party’s dominant African American community. Whoever claims victory in the May 14th Democratic primary will win the seat in November.
Former Rep. Mike Rogers entering the race gives the Republicans a strong candidate to battle the likely eventual Democratic nominee, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing). Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig could still enter the Republican primary, but Mr. Rogers must be viewed as the favorite for the party nomination in the August 6th primary. While Rogers will make the general election competitive, he will have to draw new voters to the polls in order to compensate for the Michigan Democrats’ inherent advantage in the state.
For the first time, Sen. Jon Tester (D) is on the ballot in a year where Republicans will be strong at the top of the ticket. At this point, Aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy is the lone major candidate. Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) is expected to soon enter.
While the Republican establishment favors Sheehy and feels Rosendale would likely again lose to Sen. Tester – he lost in 2018, 50-47% – the GOP electorate may vote otherwise. Despite losing to Tester, Mr. Rosendale has won five of his last seven races dating back to 2010. The Montana primary is June 4th. This is a top tier, must-win race for the GOP.
Appointed Senator Pete Ricketts (R) is on ballot to fill the unexpired portion of resigned Senator Ben Sasse’s (R) final term. Most likely Sen. Ricketts’ biggest obstacle for success is the Republican primary, but so far no major candidate has yet surfaced. Soon, it will be clear that Sen. Ricketts is home free and will soon after must then build an effort to win a full six-year term in 2026.
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) will be on the ballot for a second term, and the Republican leadership is already lining up behind Afghanistan War veteran and 2022 Senate candidate Sam Brown. The latter man has primary opposition, principally from former US Ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter. Mr. Brown is the early favorite and, looking at the Nevada voting patterns from the past few elections, this race has a very good chance of becoming a top tier challenge contest after the Republican nomination is settled next June.
In a year when Republicans must maximize their conversion opportunities to take advantage of a favorable map, the Nevada race must become serious upset potential for the GOP.
Friday’s indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez (D) certainly changes the 2024 Senate election cycle in the Garden State. Though many in his own party are calling for his resignation it is unlikely that Sen. Menendez will comply, particularly since his initial reaction to the indictment is one of defiance.
The Senate seat will likely remain in Democratic hands regardless of Menendez’s fate, but several Democratic leaders are hoping that Gov. Phil Murphy (D) can appoint a stronger Democrat to replace the politically wounded Menendez. If the Senator chooses to file for re-election, expect to see a competitive Democratic primary battle emerge.
The Buckeye State Senate race is one of the top three national GOP conversion opportunities, and though he is a tough campaigner beating Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) is a must if Republicans are to claim a working majority.
Three candidates are vying for the Republican nomination. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and businessman Bernie Moreno, the latter man carrying Sen. J.D. Vance’s endorsement, are all actively campaigning in anticipation of the March 19th primary. The GOP winner will begin as a toss-up challenger to Sen. Brown. In the past few elections, the Ohio political trends have moved decidedly Republican.
Republican leaders were successful in recruiting former hedge fund CEO and 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick into the current race against Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D). The Pennsylvania GOP appears as a united party behind McCormick who will have plenty of resources to run a strong campaign. Conversely, Sen. Casey has won his three previous elections with an average of 56.0% of the vote.
In a year where the state is slightly more likely to fall into the Democratic presidential camp once the polls close on November 5, 2024, the Republican effort to upset the veteran Senator will be especially tough. Mr. Casey begins the contest as the favorite to win what promises to be a competitive general election.
On a map where Democrats apparently have only one challenger opportunity, Texas, the early going in the Lone Star State has not gone their way. While the Democratic leadership was successful in recruiting their first choice to oppose Sen. Ted Cruz (R), having the developing competitive primary and late May runoff election was not part of their plan.
With state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), former Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, and state Rep. Carl Sherman (D-Dallas) all in the Democratic primary race, Rep. Allred no longer has a clear shot at the nomination.
All three of his Democratic opponents have a political base, meaning the chances of Allred, or any other candidate, reaching the 50% mark from the March 5th primary election become slim. Democrats have not won a Texas statewide race since 1994, and Sen. Cruz’s odds of keeping that streak alive next year appear very strong.
Sen. Mitt Romney*’s (R) decision not to seek re-election leaves what promises to be a very competitive Republican nomination battle in his wake. State House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) and Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs are in the race. We can expect several others to soon enter, though no member of the congressional delegation is yet making an obvious move to jump into the now open seat campaign.
The Republican nominating convention will likely narrow the field to a pair of candidates advancing to the June 2024 primary, but others could petition onto the ballot if they either lose the convention vote or simply choose to bypass the official party gathering.
Former US Representative and current Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz is unlikely to run. Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) has already said he will not enter the Senate race, choosing to seek re-election instead. The battle here will be in the Republican primary.
Senator Joe Manchin (D) has yet to commit to running for a third full term. He is clearly the most vulnerable national Democrat if he does choose to seek re-election, however. It is also possible that he may become a minor party candidate for President. Additionally, the latest information suggests that if he does ultimately decide to run in West Virginia, it will be as an Independent.
In any event, the Mountain State is the Republicans’ best 2024 US Senate conversion opportunity. Gov. Jim Justice and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) are battling in the Republican primary. Polling suggests that Gov. Justice would begin a race against Sen. Manchin with a big lead, while Rep. Mooney would be in a close contest. Regardless of who wins the Republican primary, and Gov. Justice is favored, the West Virginia race is a must-win for the GOP if they are to have any chance of gaining the Senate majority.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is on the ballot for a third term and, at this point, faces no serious opposition. Wisconsin features tight general elections, so this would be a missed GOP opportunity if they don’t file a credible candidate. If the congressional lines are redrawn and either Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) or Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien/La Crosse) are placed in an unwinnable district, one or both could jump into a race against Sen. Baldwin. With an August 2024 primary, the Wisconsin Senate race will take further time to develop.
*denotes candidate received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2023-2024 election cycle.
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