As Democrats celebrate their better-than-expected midterm performance in the Senate, the party must now look ahead to 2024 as its members face an uphill battle to maintain control of the upper chamber.
The 2024 cycle could prove to be more challenging for the Democrats as they will have to defend twice as many Senate seats as Republicans.
The 2024 election will have 34 Senate seats up for grabs, including 22 that are now held by the Democrats, 11 that belong to the Republicans, and the Arizona seat held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who announced on Friday that she will now be an independent.
Making things more challenging, a handful of Democrats will also be fighting for reelection in reliably red states — giving Republicans a chance to flip some crucial seats.
Among those who must defend their blue seats in Republican-leaning states is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is considered to be one of the most vulnerable Democrats heading into the 2024 cycle and one of the Republicans’ top targets. Manchin is running for reelection in a state that former President Donald Trump won by 38.9 percentage points in 2020.
Other Democrats running in reliably red states include Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who are running in states that Trump won by 16.4 and 8 points in 2020, respectively. Meanwhile, there are no Republicans running for reelection in Democratic-leaning states.
Democrats do have some pickup opportunities in Florida and Texas that have become lighter shades of red in recent years. However, the incumbents in those states, Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), benefit from national name recognition and somewhat high favorability ratings among the party.
The Democrats’ increased challenges in 2024 ironically come from their strong showing during the blue wave of 2018 that allowed Sinema to win her seat in Arizona and hold on to their seats in red-leaning Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia.
There will also be a number of swing states that have Senate seats available that year, including those in Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin that each saw tight midterm races earlier in 2022.