Bad GOP candidates likely cost the party a shot at a filibuster-proof Senate majority in 2024

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Bad GOP candidates likely cost the party a shot at a filibuster-proof Senate majority in 2024

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The Republican Party’s terrible Senate candidates didn’t just potentially cost the GOP control of the chamber for the next two years, but they may have cost the party a chance to reach a filibuster-proof majority in the 2024 elections.

Republicans couldn’t ask for a Senate map better than they will be getting in 2024. The GOP will be defending just ten seats, all of them in reliably red states: Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska (where two seats are up, thanks to Sen. Ben Sasse’s resignation), North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Given that Florida no longer appears to be a swing state, Republicans should easily hold all ten, barring a catastrophe.

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Meanwhile, the map is rife with pickup opportunities. Democrats will be defending West Virginia, which will likely flip to the GOP regardless of whether or not Sen. Joe Manchin runs for reelection. Democrats will also be defending seats in Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia, all seats where Republicans have won (or might yet win, in the case of the governor’s races in Arizona and Nevada) going back to last year. That is six seats that could easily go the GOP’s way depending on the national environment and the slate of candidates.

But it doesn’t end there, either. Republicans have also been competitive in Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania over the last few years, and Democrats will be defending seats in all of them as well. A gain of seven or eight Senate seats is not out of the realm of possibility for the GOP in 2024, especially if the presidential race at the top of the ticket is, say, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis against President Joe Biden.

If Republicans were able to pick up two, three, or even four Senate seats in this cycle, a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority would have been on the table. Instead, Republicans may not even pick up a single seat, with Blake Masters trailing Sen. Mark Kelly in Arizona and Herschel Walker headed to a run-off with Sen. Raphael Warnock, even though the GOP gubernatorial candidates above them on the ballot have outperformed them. (Drastically so, in the case of Walker).

Along with those races, Republicans blew a winnable race in New Hampshire after nominating Don Bolduc, who claimed the 2020 election was stolen. Republicans also choked away a winnable Senate race in Pennsylvania after nominating Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor with no political experience. Oz gave away a race against the Democratic Party’s own terrible candidate, but even he may have won, were it not for the top-of-the-ticket loser Republicans nominated for governor.

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The best case now for Republicans is a 52-seat majority, which would require them winning Nevada (which is likely) along with Georgia and Arizona (both less likely). Even then, that would require the 2024 cast of candidates to do the heavy lifting to reach a 60-seat majority. Had Republicans run decent candidates in this cycle, those 60 seats would be within reach in 2024. Instead, the GOP may be heading into that election cycle still in the minority.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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