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Calling it quits: Wave of Democrat retirements could gift Senate majority to GOP in 2024

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 1/22/2023 Cami Mondeaux
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As lawmakers prepare for what is likely to be a tough election cycle in 2024, many senators in key battleground states are considering retirement — putting Democrats on edge as they seek to defend their slim majority in the upper chamber.

Democrats are already expected to face a challenging election cycle in 2024 as the party will have to defend 23 Senate seats, compared to just 11 for Republicans. A handful of Democrats will also be fighting for reelection in reliably red states — giving Republicans a chance to flip some crucial seats.


At least one Democrat, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), has already announced her intent to retire in 2024, giving the party at least one open seat they’ll have to defend. Additionally, Democrats will also have to focus on the Arizona seat held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who announced in December she would be leaving the Democratic Party to become an independent.

Democrats breathed a sigh of relief after Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) announced his reelection bid on Friday amid concerns he may step down, giving the party a strong chance to maintain the seat Kaine has held since 2013.

Here are the Democrats planning to retire in 2024 and who may follow suit in the coming months:

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) 

Stabenow announced in early January that she will not seek reelection in 2024, making her the first Democratic incumbent senator to announce her retirement for the next election cycle.

Stabenow’s retirement opens up a seat in Michigan that the Democrat has held since 2001, giving Republicans a key pickup opportunity.

“Inspired by a new generation of leaders, I have decided to pass the torch in the U.S. Senate. I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election and will leave the U.S. Senate at the end of my term on January 3, 2025,” Stabenow said in a statement. “I am so grateful for the trust the people of Michigan have placed in me. I am also deeply grateful to my incredible staff, who are the best team in the United States Senate. They continue to set the highest standards for service in Michigan and across our country.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Considered to be one of the most vulnerable Democrats heading into the 2024 election cycle, all eyes are on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as he mulls his future plans.

The West Virginia Democrat has not yet indicated whether he plans to run for reelection. However, if he does, Manchin would be running in a state that former President Donald Trump won by 38.9 percentage points in 2020 — making him a top target for the Republican Party.

The race for the Senate seat has already begun to take shape after Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) announced his intent to run just one week after the midterm elections.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) 

Among those who must defend their blue seats in Republican-leaning states is Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who narrowly defeated Republican Matt Rosendale in 2018 by 3.5 percentage points.

Tester faces an uphill battle as he plays defense in a state former President Donald Trump won by 16.4 points in 2020. Tester’s seat is considered to be one of the most vulnerable Democratic seats heading into 2024, although the Montana Democrat has maintained he “feels good about his chances.”

Tester has not yet announced whether he’ll launch a reelection bid, but he is expected to announce his decision sometime in the coming weeks.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Although she has not yet revealed her future plans, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is widely expected to announce her retirement from her California Senate seat in the coming months. If so, her retirement would open up a Senate seat in California that hasn’t been up for grabs since 1992.

A slew of Democrats is already lining up to take her place, with Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) announcing her candidacy on Tuesday. A handful of other Democrats, such as Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA), are expected to follow suit.

However, Feinstein has remained tight-lipped about what her plans may be.

“Everyone is of course welcome to throw their hat in the ring, and I will make an announcement concerning my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time,” Feinstein said in a statement responding to Porter's candidacy. “Right now I’m focused on ensuring California has all the resources it needs to cope with the devastating storms slamming the state and leaving more than a dozen dead.”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

Many Democrats have been left wondering whether Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) will seek another Senate term in 2024, particularly after the Pennsylvania Democrat announced he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year.


Although Casey assured supporters his diagnosis would not hinder him from finishing out his current term, the incumbent has not yet indicated whether he’ll run for reelection.

The race for Pennsylvania’s Senate seat is expected to be competitive after Republicans lost the recent matchup between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) in 2022.


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Tags: 2024 Elections, Campaigns, Democratic Party, Senate, Senate Democrats, News

Original Author: Cami Mondeaux

Original Location: Calling it quits: Wave of Democrat retirements could gift Senate majority to GOP in 2024


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