Republicans have a ripe opportunity to regain control of the Senate in the upcoming year, provided they can secure strong candidates.
The GOP only needs to gain one or two seats, depending on the outcome of the 2024 White House race. The Democratic party faces the challenge of defending more difficult seats, as seven out of the top ten seats likely to switch party control, according to CNN, are held by Democrats. Notably, the top three seats are all in states that former President Donald Trump won twice.
The success of this spring's recruitment season will heavily influence the competitiveness of the Senate map in the following year, following a problematic GOP candidate cycle during the recent midterms.
Republicans have a prime opportunity to retake the Senate next year, hinging on securing strong candidates. Depending on the 2024 White House race outcome, the GOP only needs to gain one or two seats. Democrats face the challenge of defending tougher seats, with seven out of the top ten likely to switch party control currently held by them, including the top three seats in states won twice by former President Donald Trump.
The success of the upcoming recruitment season will significantly impact the competitiveness of the Senate map next year, following a troublesome GOP candidate cycle in the recent midterms.
Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen has officially announced her campaign for reelection, emphasizing her humble beginnings and accomplishments in a bipartisan fashion. With Nevada being a perennial battleground state, Rosen is determined to avoid complacency within her party. She initially secured her seat in 2018 during a midterm election, prevailing with a 5-point margin. In the previous year, her Democratic colleague, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, won by a narrow margin against former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
During presidential election cycles, Nevada tends to lean more towards the Democratic side, although both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton only carried the state by approximately 2 points each. Republicans are closely observing two candidates who experienced defeat in the previous election cycle: Sam Brown, a military veteran who fell short of securing the GOP Senate nomination, and April Becker, an attorney who failed to secure a redrawn House seat.
Another contender, Jim Marchant, who entered the race in May, may not possess broad appeal for a general election. Marchant, a staunch supporter of former President Trump, has promoted baseless conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election and disputed his own loss in Congress that same year. In the previous election, he lost the secretary of state race by a narrow margin of about 2 points.
The upcoming race in Arizona holds the potential for significant excitement, contingent upon the decision of Democratic-turned-independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema regarding her reelection bid. Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego, who is positioning himself further to the left, surpassed the incumbent in fundraising during the first quarter with $3.8 million compared to Sinema's $2.1 million. However, Sinema maintains a substantial advantage in available funds, with nearly $10 million compared to Gallego's $2.7 million.
Former attorney general nominee Abe Hamadeh and Karrin Taylor Robson, who lost in last year's gubernatorial primary against Lake, have met with NRSC officials. Additionally, Republican businessman Jim Lamon, who failed to secure the party's nomination for the state's other Senate seat last year, may also enter the mix. Republicans prefer to see Sinema run because her candidacy, along with Gallego's, would likely divide the left-leaning vote. However, they face the challenge of finding a candidate who can appeal to the GOP base without alienating the broader electorate in a state that narrowly supported Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
In April, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, emphasizing his law enforcement background, became the first prominent Republican to enter the race. Nonetheless, the filing deadline is still a year away in April, allowing ample time for other contenders to join. Republicans express unease over the potential candidacy of Kari Lake, the unsuccessful nominee in last year's gubernatorial election who continues to claim victory. While she may be popular with the base in a state known for election denialism, her general election prospects could pose a significant risk to the party. CNN reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) recently encouraged her to distance herself from election conspiracy theories.
The upcoming race in Ohio poses a significant question regarding Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown's ability to defy expectations in a state that has been leaning towards the Republican Party. In the past decade, Brown stands as the sole Democrat to have won a nonjudicial statewide race in Ohio. Despite Trump's victory with an 8-point margin in the Buckeye State on two occasions, Brown has managed to outperform expectations.
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In last year's Senate race, Trump's chosen candidate, JD Vance, secured a victory against Democrat Tim Ryan by approximately 6 points, despite encountering campaign difficulties.
Brown holds a more established presence in Ohio compared to Ryan, having cultivated relationships not only within White working-class communities but also urban centers. He demonstrated his fundraising prowess by raising $3.6 million in the first quarter of the year. Two wealthy Republicans have entered the race in an attempt to challenge him: businessman Bernie Moreno, who has garnered praise from Trump, and state Senator Matt Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team.
Both individuals ran for Senate in 2022, but Moreno withdrew before the primary, while Dolan, who positioned himself as a moderate conservative unenthusiastic about Trump and his false election claims, finished third in a competitive field. Other potential contenders in the GOP race this year include Representative Warren Davidson and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
Democrats received encouraging news as Senator Jon Tester announced his candidacy for a fourth term, accompanied by a strong fundraising achievement of $5 million in the first quarter. Notably, a significant portion of these funds came from small-dollar donors. Tester faces the challenge of running in a state that heavily supported former President Trump by a margin of 16 points in the 2020 election.
However, similar to Senator Manchin, Tester possesses a well-established reputation that he can leverage, including his willingness to break with President Biden when necessary. For instance, Tester voted in favor of a GOP resolution aimed at rolling back an ESG investing rule implemented by the Biden administration, leading to President Biden's first veto.
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On the Republican side, the field is still shaping up. Republicans are expressing interest in retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, a businessman who has the potential to self-fund his campaign, as well as state Attorney General Austin Knudsen. Another possible contender is Representative Matt Rosendale, who previously lost to Tester in 2018 but secured the GOP nomination with support from the Club for Growth.
Notably, the Club for Growth has recently experienced disagreements with Trump. In April, Rosendale made a notable appearance at Mar-a-Lago during Trump's speech following an indictment, signaling potential alignment with the former president. However, Rosendale has not yet confirmed his candidacy and raised only around $127,000 in the first quarter, which falls significantly short of the funds required for a competitive Senate campaign.
5. West Virginia
Senator Joe Manchin is attracting significant attention by keeping his reelection plans under wraps. Assuming he decides to run, Democrats will have a fighting chance to defend their seat in a state where Trump had a commanding 39-point victory in 2020. Manchin has consistently diverged from the White House's positions, including instances like Biden's first veto and the administration's stance on the debt ceiling.
Democrats are well aware that without Manchin, West Virginia would likely be a lost cause for their party. In the first fundraising quarter of this year, which ended on March 31, Manchin raised a relatively modest $371,000. Republicans have wasted no time in launching attacks against him, with One Nation, an issue advocacy group aligned with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, running an advertisement campaign linking Manchin to the Inflation Reduction Act. Manchin recently went on Fox News and threatened to support a repeal of his own bill. Nevertheless, Manchin still maintains nearly $10 million in campaign funds and receives support from Democratic-aligned groups.
Republicans, on the other hand, will probably invest a significant amount of time and resources attacking each other in the primary race. The Club for Growth's political arm is endorsing Alex Mooney, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, while Governor Jim Justice is expected to receive support from GOP party leaders. Governor Justice, a wealthy individual who initially served as a Democrat before switching parties in 2017, enjoys high name recognition and has close ties to Trump. Mooney, who secured the former president's endorsement during a member-on-member House primary last year, is already launching attacks against the governor in an advertisement, referring to him as “Liberal Jim Justice” and using imagery of Justice wearing a face mask.
This article was produced and syndicated by Max My Money.
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