In November 2024, the United States will have 34 Senate seats up for grabs, with 20 seats currently held by Democrats, three by independents, and 11 by Republicans. Among the Democratic incumbents, at least eight seats are considered “competitive” by election ratings services. This includes the seats held by three Senate Democrats in states won by former President Donald Trump in 2020, namely West Virginia, Montana, and Ohio. On the other hand, all 11 Senate seats held by GOP incumbents are in states rated as securely red, although Texas is regarded as a “battleground Republican” state where a Democrat is expected to be competitive. Additionally, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, if he decides to run, may face a tough primary challenge.
The three independent Senate incumbents caucus with the Democrats, with Senators Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont heavily favored to be reelected. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, elected as a Democrat before leaving the party in December 2022, has not announced her intentions for the 2024 election. If Sinema seeks reelection, the race for the Arizona U.S. Senate seat could become a tight three-way contest. Several Democratic and Republican hopefuls have already shown interest in the primary races in Arizona.
Given the current makeup of the Senate, with Democrats holding a slim majority of 51-49, Republicans are hopeful that they can gain control of the chamber in the 2024 elections. While all 11 GOP-held seats are considered safe or nearly so, up to nine of the 23 incumbent Democrats and independents may face challenging reelections.
It is important to note that the 2024 campaign season is in its early stages, with more than seven months to go before the first presidential primary. Some states hold presidential primaries separately from the rest of the election slate, and filing deadlines in some states are still months away. It is worth mentioning that Republicans were projected to take the Senate in the 2022 elections but ended up losing a seat, giving Democrats a two-vote cushion in the chamber. In previous election cycles, Democrats defied expectations by gaining seats in 2012 and losing seats in 2018.
Let’s take a closer look at three Senate seats that are expected to generate the most competitive races in 2024.
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, would likely be an underdog in seeking a third Senate term in a state that Trump won by a significant margin in 2020. Although Manchin has been critical of President Biden’s policies, he has not made a decision on whether to run for reelection. As of March 31, Manchin had nearly $10 million in campaign donations. One Democrat, Zachary Shrewsbury, has filed as a candidate for the primary, while at least four Republicans, including Governor Jim Justice and Representative Alex Mooney, have already started campaigning. Mooney, who is supported by the Club for Growth and was endorsed by former President Trump, is expected to give Justice a tough challenge in the GOP primary.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema has filed preliminary paperwork to run for a second six-year term but has not officially announced her candidacy. If she decides to run, she could face a competitive three-way race against strong Democratic and Republican candidates. Representative Ruben Gallego is running for Sinema’s seat and has already raised more campaign funds than Sinema. On the Republican side, the field is uncertain, with only two formally announced candidates so far. Several potential candidates, including former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, have decided not to run.
Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, is seeking reelection in a state that has become increasingly Republican in recent years. Brown does not face significant challengers in the Democratic primary at this time, but the filing deadline is still several months away. On the Republican side, three candidates, including state senator Matt Dolan and entrepreneur Bernie Moreno, have declared their candidacies. Both Dolan and Moreno are expected to spend significant amounts of money on their campaigns. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is also expected to join the race.
In conclusion, the 2024 Senate elections have the potential to shift the balance of power in the chamber. With several competitive races expected, both Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for what promises to be an intense campaign season. However, it is still early, and many factors can influence the outcomes. The next few months will provide more clarity on the candidates and their strategies as the election cycle progresses.