All eyes are turning to a handful of Senate Democrats in key battleground states to see whether they’ll decide to run again in 2024 after Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) announced her retirement this week.
Stabenow’s decision could be the first in a wave of potential retirements that would create GOP pickup opportunities in a tough electoral map for Democrats.
Even though they grew their Senate majority last November, Democrats will have to defend more than twice as many seats as Republicans in 2024, including in competitive states like Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Here are five Senate Democrats to watch as they mull over possible reelection prospects:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
A centrist Democrat who got his start in the Senate in 2010 after serving as the secretary of state and governor of West Virginia, Manchin is a bit of an anomaly in his state as its only statewide elected Democrat.
Manchin’s tenure has been marked by rankling both Republicans and Democrats at times. He angered members of his party after he initially killed off Democrats’ prospects for passing Build Back Better legislation in December 2021 and for his defense of keeping the filibuster in place — a rule that requires most legislation in the Senate to be passed with at least 60 votes.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
Tester is likewise the only statewide elected Democrat in Montana, and his seat is also being viewed as a critical GOP pickup opportunity. But ousting the Montana Democrat will be no small feat for Republicans should Tester run again, given he’s a three-term incumbent.
The chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Tester has won his last three races by single digits, including in 2018 against Rep. Matt Rosendale (R), who could run again for the seat.
It’s possible Rep.-elect Ryan Zinke (R), who won back a seat in the House in November, could jump in too. And given that Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) is the chairman of the Senate GOP campaign arm for the 2024 cycle, he’s likely to turn the heat up on flipping Tester’s seat.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
Casey’s announcement on Thursday that he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer has left many wondering what the news might mean for him past 2024.
In a statement, he said that he had “an excellent prognosis” and had noted that he was “confident that my recommended course of treatment will allow me to continue my service in the 118th Congress with minimal disruption.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)
The 2024 Senate race is expected to be competitive as Baldwin decides whether to run for a third term. Baldwin, the first openly gay senator in the U.S. who is known for her work on the Affordable Care Act, has won her last two races by wider-than-expected margins for a swing state — close to 6 points in 2012 and by more than 10 points in 2018.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
A former lieutenant governor and governor of Virginia, in addition to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 vice presidential running mate, the two-term incumbent Kaine has been a mainstay in Virginia and national politics for years.
Though Republicans flipped fewer House seats in Virginia than they had hoped during the November midterms, there are signs that Democrats shouldn’t get too comfortable about Kaine’s seat: Republicans won back the state House of Delegates in 2021, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) flipped the governor’s mansion red for the first time in over decade after he beat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
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