The upcoming 2024 Senate elections have garnered significant attention, as they hold the potential to shape the balance of power within the U.S. Senate. Currently, the Democrats and their independent allies hold a slim majority of 51 seats, while the Republicans trail closely behind with 49 seats. With 34 seats up for grabs, including a special election in Nebraska, the outcome of these elections could significantly impact the Senate’s composition. To regain control, Republicans would need to secure a net gain of two seats or win the presidency in 2024 alongside a net income of one heart.
In the upcoming 2024 elections, Democrats may have to defend all eight of the most vulnerable seats in the chamber. There are three states where Democratic incumbents are facing a strong Republican challenge: West Virginia, Ohio, and Montana. The next group of contests includes five seats currently held by Democrats in states where Donald Trump either won or came close to winning: Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada.
On the other hand, Republicans have the advantage in 2024 as they only need to defend two seats that are even remotely competitive: Texas and Florida. According to political experts in these states, three Democratic-held seats are considered toss-ups: Arizona, Ohio, and Montana. Additionally, four other seats lean towards the Democratic side, all currently held by Democrats: Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Here is a breakdown of the Senate battleground 2024 state-by-state, starting with the seats most likely to go Republican and ending with those most likely to go Democratic. As the nation eagerly awaits the results, the Senate prediction for 2024 remains a topic of great interest and speculation.
So, let’s see the detailed prediction of what is likely to happen in 2024
Indiana (open seat), Missouri (Josh Hawley), Mississippi (Roger Wicker), North Dakota (Kevin Cramer), Nebraska (Deb Fischer), Nebraska special election (Pete Ricketts), Tennessee (Marsha Blackburn), Utah (Mitt Romney) and Wyoming (John Barrasso).
Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida is a strong contender for the party in the 2024 Senate cycle. With his incumbent status, wealth, and recognition from serving two terms as governor, he is well-positioned for success.
Scott is not famous among Senate Republicans. He had disagreements with Mitch McConnell about campaign tactics. As the leader of the Senate Republicans’ campaign in 2022, the GOP didn’t gain control and even lost a seat. Some Republicans blame him for proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare, which Democrats criticized. Even though Scott changed his position later, it could still impact his reelection prospects.
Furthermore, the Republican Party’s recent victory in Florida’s 2022 midterm elections adds to his advantage. Additionally, either former President Donald Trump or Governor Ron DeSantis, both from Florida, are likely to lead the GOP presidential ticket.
Possible candidates for the upcoming election include former Rep. Stephanie Murphy, former Rep. Gwen Graham, Andrew Warren, Jennifer Jenkins, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Shevrin Jones, and Fentrice Driskell. There is also a chance that a non-traditional candidate like Grant Hill or Dwayne Wade could join the race. This could be the Democrats’ best chance if they can convince one of them to run.
In Texas, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to win a third term. Republicans usually have an advantage in Texas elections. However, Cruz’s personality, policy views, and Texas’ shift towards the center in recent elections make his victory less confident. In 2018, Cruz narrowly avoided losing to Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke.
Democrats have found a great candidate in Rep. Colin Allred, a former NFL player who won a challenging House race in 2018. Allred is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination due to his national profile.
“A competent campaign by Allred that can avoid hot-button social issues could make the race interesting, especially in a presidential election year,” when turnout is higher, says David Crockett, a Trinity University political scientist.
Allred’s challenge will be fundraising. Cruz has a national fundraising base from his 2016 presidential run, but Allred needs enough money to compete on television in 20 Texas media markets.
“Democrats focused on retaining control of the Senate know that it would cost about the same amount of money to run the same robust statewide media campaign in a longshot Texas U.S. Senate race as it would cost to run the same robust statewide media campaign combined in five states that observers consider to be lean or toss-up states in 2024: Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, West Virginia, and Montana,” says Rice University political scientist Mark P. Jones.
In May, a survey by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation showed Cruz leading Allred by 47% to 40%, with 9% undecided. Another poll by the University of Texas-Tyler found Cruz leading by 42% to 37%, with 145 respondents saying “someone else” and 7% saying they didn’t know. If Allred fulfills his promise as a candidate, this contest could become more favorable for Republicans later on.
West Virginia has become heavily Republican in the past 20 years. Senator Joe Manchin is the only Democrat elected statewide in West Virginia, a state that strongly backed Donald Trump in the elections 2016 and 2020. If Manchin decides to run for reelection, there is a chance that Democrats can maintain his essential Senate vote.
The GOP primary has Gov. Jim Justice and Rep. Alex Mooney as candidates. Justice, a former billionaire, has more money and a down-home populist persona with his dog Babydog. Mooney has support from the conservative Club for Growth. They will likely argue about ideology and their ties to the state. Justice will highlight his achievements as governor, while Mooney can mention his recent victory in a newly drawn district.
A recent poll by the East Carolina University Center for Survey Research showed Justice leading Manchin, 54%-32%. Democrats’ chances of winning the state are fading, and a divisive GOP primary could further diminish their hopes. If Manchin doesn’t run, the race will likely favor the Republicans.
Arizona’s 2024 Senate race is set to be the most unpredictable in the country. Incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, initially elected as a Democrat in 2018, became an independent after the 2022 elections. While she still caucuses with Democrats, her rocky relationship with the Biden administration and unique political style has alienated some in her party. On the Democratic side, Rep. Ruben Gallego is expected to be the nominee. He must address concerns about his liberal voting record and appeal to Republicans and independents dissatisfied with the state GOP’s rightward shift.
The GOP field is uncertain. If Kari Lake joins, it would be a game-changer. Lake, a former TV newscaster, gained popularity in the Trump wing of the party for focusing on election fraud but lost a bid for governor in 2022. While talented, her positions are seen as toxic outside of the hardcore GOP base. Experts predict that if Lake becomes the Senate nominee, she could lose support from independent voters and 30% of Republicans. The question is whether anti-Lake voters would choose Sinema or Gallego.
There are other Republicans who could run for the Senate seat in Arizona. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb has already announced his candidacy, but he is not well-known statewide. Another potential GOP candidate is Jim Lamon, who previously self-funded a Senate campaign in 2022 but was unsuccessful. More established Republican candidates like former Governor Doug Ducey or Karrin Taylor Robson might have a good chance of winning the general election. However, Robson has already withdrawn from the 2024 Senate race, and Ducey is unlikely to run.
“The GOP primary field is going to be frozen as everyone awaits to see if Kari Lake jumps into the race,” says Mike Noble, the founder and managing partner of polling firm OH Predictive Insights. “If she does, she’ll be incredibly hard to beat in the GOP primary.”
Like West Virginia, Ohio has turned increasingly red – and it also has a Democratic Senate incumbent up for reelection in 2024.
Sherrod Brown is a skilled politician who has won three Senate terms in a state where his blue-collar-oriented, pro-worker pitch has historically had a receptive audience. Still, “this will be the toughest electoral landscape Brown has ever faced,” says University of Cincinnati political scientist David Niven.
The prospect of unseating a Democratic incumbent has energized the Ohio GOP, so much so that it threatens to produce a wide-open GOP primary similar to the knock-down, drag-out fight in 2022 for the nomination for the state’s other Senate seat. In that contest, Republican J.D. Vance won the nomination and eventually held the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. The fact that then-Rep. Tim Ryan performed well against Vance in the general election but still fell 6 points short, which is a warning sign for Brown since Ryan patterned both his style and his substance after Brown.
The GOP field already includes two well-funded hopefuls as declared candidates: state Sen. Matt Dolan, a relative moderate who finished a distant third in the 2022 Senate primary, and Bernie Moreno, a businessman from the Trump wing of the party. Both are capable of self-funding. Other candidates could join the race, notably Ohio’s secretary of state, Frank LaRose. LaRose might have the best chance of winning the general election if he can win the primary, observers say, but he can’t self-fund the way Dolan and Moreno can. Ultimately, the race is expected to determine whether Brown’s political talents outweigh the state’s overall leanings.
“Brown is popular in Ohio, despite his progressive credentials,” says Paul A. Beck, an Ohio State University political scientist. “He has been able to appeal to both urban and rural voters more than other Democrats have. I think the race will be close.”
Tester is the only Democrat holding statewide office in Montana. Like West Virginia and Ohio, Montana supported Trump for president twice. He has been successful in the past due to his relatable style and political savvy, but the state is now arguably more Republican than ever.
National Republicans support Tim Sheehy, a political newcomer and the founder/CEO of Bridger Aerospace. Sheehy is a retired Navy SEAL and has the endorsement of Senator Steve Daines, Governor Greg Gianforte, Representative Ryan Zinke, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. While Sheehy has a strong profile, he will need on-the-job training to defeat Tester, who has previously succeeded in challenging political territory.
However, Sheehy’s path to the nomination may not be apparent if Rep. Matt Rosendale enters the race. Rosendale upset some Republicans in 2018 when he lost a race they believed he could have won by over 3 points. Additionally, the well-funded Club for Growth has stated that they will not support Rosendale again as they did in 2018. Rosendale has until March to decide if he will run.
The GOP nomination will determine the outcome of this race, making it a pure Toss-Up.
In Nevada, Senator Jacky Rosen, a first-term Democrat, prepares for a tough reelection battle. The state has a mix of white and Latino working-class voters, making it an attractive target for the populist GOP. The competitiveness of the race will depend on the Republican nominee. Sam Brown, a wounded Army veteran who previously ran in the 2022 primary but lost to Adam Laxalt, is running again and is favored by Republican leaders.
Two GOP candidates in the primary are aligned with Trump. Jim Marchant’s support for election conspiracies led to the Democratic nominee winning. Jeff Gunter was named U.S. ambassador to Iceland by Trump. Observers favor Rosen against either Marchant or Gunter, while a Rosen-Brown matchup would be close and costly. The contest remains in the Lean Democratic column until the primary is over.
Pennsylvania’s Senate race is now tighter due to the emergence of a strong Republican challenger, McCormick. Casey, who has served three terms in the Senate and benefits from his father’s legacy as governor, is a well-known figure in Pennsylvania. While Casey hasn’t made any significant mistakes in his Senate career, the race is competitive because Pennsylvania, along with Wisconsin and Michigan, voted for Trump in 2016 and then whipped to Biden in 2020.
Doug Mastriano, the far-right candidate who lost the 2022 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, has decided not to run. This leaves McCormick, a former hedge-fund executive and the expected GOP nominee, as the leading contender.
McCormick’s establishment background may appeal to moderate GOP voters not fond of Mastriano’s extreme views. However, Democrats plan to criticize McCormick on his stance on abortion and question his ties to the state, similar to what happened to Mehmet Oz in the 2022 Senate race. Pre-entry polls showed Casey with a slight lead, but this could change as the race progresses, especially if the presidential contest in the state remains close. Currently, we consider this race as leaning towards the Democratic party.
This seat is open because Debbie Stabenow, the Democratic incumbent, retired. Michigan Democrats had a successful election in 2022, winning the governorship, executive offices, and legislature control. They hope to continue this momentum in 2024. The leading Democratic candidate is Rep. Elissa Slotkin, known for winning competitive elections as a moderate with foreign policy experience.
However, she will face a tough primary against several challengers. The GOP field is less specific, but the notable addition is former Rep. Rogers.
“If he can get through a primary, Rogers would be the best nominee the GOP could hope for,” says Bill Ballenger, publisher of the Ballenger Report, a newsletter on Michigan politics.
James Craig, former Detroit Police Chief, is running for governor but failed to make the primary ballot in 2022. Peter Meijer, a retail scion and former U.S. House member, is considering a Republican bid but may face challenges due to his history of losing a primary to a Trump ally. Other less prominent Republicans, including Nikki Snyder, are already in the race. In the general election, Slotkin would have an advantage, especially if she were to face Rogers and they spar over their records in foreign affairs. The Democrats have an edge in this race.
Wisconsin is an authoritarian state for Democrats to win, but they have a good chance in this year’s Senate races. Incumbent Tammy Baldwin has a strong record and won by a wide margin in 2018. Wisconsin Democrats also showed momentum in a recent Supreme Court race. The Republican primary field is uncertain, with potential candidates lacking enthusiasm. If Republicans can’t find a strong candidate, the race could shift toward Democrats.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez’s federal indictment, which includes details of gold bars and cash, has disrupted his expected reelection. Despite not resigning or announcing retirement, Menendez has lost support from influential Democrats in his home state, such as Governor Phil Murphy, Senator Cory Booker, and most of the Democratic House delegation. His party will not be backing him in this year’s election, as they did after his 2015 indictment, which resulted in a hung jury.
One strong challenger has emerged: Rep. Andy Kim, who could gain support from a broad range of the party in a primary against Menendez. The risk for the party is that more Democrats may enter the race, lowering the threshold to win and increasing the chances of Menendez winning in the primary. One potential candidate is New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, another strong candidate, has stated she will not run for Senate.
On the GOP side, Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Republican elected as a Democrat, is reportedly considering running. However, Republicans have not won a Senate election in New Jersey since 1972, so their best chance of winning may be if Menendez secures renomination. This poses enough risk for Democrats to change this seat from Safe Democratic to Likely Democratic.
California (open seat), Connecticut (Chris Murphy), Delaware (open heart), Hawaii (Mazie Hirono), Massachusetts (Elizabeth Warren), Maryland (open seat), Maine (Angus King, independent who caucuses with Democrats), Minnesota (Amy Klobuchar), New Mexico (Martin Heinrich), New York (Kirsten Gillibrand), Rhode Island (Sheldon Whitehouse), Virginia (Tim Kaine), Vermont (Bernie Sanders, independent who caucuses with Democrats) and Washington state (Maria Cantwell).
Two out of three Democratic open seats will likely remain solidly Democratic in the general election but will have lively Democratic primaries. (Delaware is not expected to have a competitive Democratic primary.)
Let’s look at the current status of the primaries in California and Maryland.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has chosen Laphonza Butler, the president of EMILY’s List, a Democratic political fundraising group, to replace the late Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. Butler will not run for a full term in 2024. There are already three prominent Democrats running to succeed Feinstein: Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff. Schiff is considered a leading candidate due to his national recognition from his involvement in Trump’s impeachments.
The primary election in California is unique because the top two candidates from any party will face off in the general election. Former Los Angeles Dodger Steve Garvey is running as a Republican. If he makes it to the runoff, the highest-finishing Democrat in the primary will have a significant advantage. It’s possible that two Democrats could win both top slots.
“The speculation now is on whether we will get an all-Democratic general election, most likely Schiff against Porter, or if Republicans can coalesce behind a single candidate to break that up,” says Marcia L. Godwin, a professor of public administration at the University of La Verne.
The Democratic primary for the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Ben Cardin has become less crowded recently. Rep. Jamie Raskin, Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, and Montgomery County Council Member Will Jawando have withdrawn from the race. Now, there are only two leading contenders left: Angela Alsobrooks, the county executive of Prince George’s County, and Rep. David Trone, a wealthy businessman. Former telecom executive Juan Dominguez is also running.
Alsobrooks has gained support from important party figures in the state, while Trone’s financial resources make him a formidable opponent. One of them will likely become the new senator in January 2025.
In the upcoming Senate race 2024, Republicans have an advantage as they only need to defend two seats in Texas and Florida. On the other hand, Democrats face a more formidable challenge as they need to protect five seats in crucial battleground states that Donald Trump either won or came close to winning. With three Democratic-held seats considered toss-ups and four leaning towards the Democratic side, the Senate prediction for 2024 remains a topic of great interest and speculation. As the nation eagerly awaits the results, the outcome of the Senate race will have significant implications for both parties.