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Column: Will Republicans blow it again? | Opinion

Could Republicans waste another chance at winning the Senate majority?

Given the more favorable Republican picture in 2024, it seems unlikely as the Democrats will need to repeat their 2022 success of holding all the vulnerable seats.

But Republicans’ tendency to nominate unacceptable right-wing candidates has failed, four times in the past 14 years (2010, 2012, 2020, 2022), to turn a favorable outlook into Senate dominance. rice field. Who says it won’t happen again in 2024?

Of the 34 seats contested in 2024, only 11 will be held by Republicans and 23 will be held by independents voting Democrats or Republicans. None of the 11 Republican seats are currently considered vulnerable, but some Texas Democrats say Rep. Colin Allred could hand the win to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. thinking.

By contrast, five incumbent Democrats face a re-election race that will either end or tip slightly. And Arizona Senator Kirsten Cinema, a maverick who caucused with the Democratic Party but turned independent this year, is likely to face a difficult three-way race. And depending on the Republican primary, several other Democrats could face a tight race.

So, barring the ever-present surprises, if the Democrats retain the presidency, the Republicans have perhaps six chances of winning the two seats they need to secure control of the Senate, but the Republican Party won the White House. If you recapture it, you can only do it once.

Considering the results of 2020, the Republican Party’s chances of success are even greater. Of the six major states, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden supported three each. Two of these states, Montana and West Virginia, are seen as certain to support Republicans at the presidential level, while three states, Ohio, are nearly as certain.

Other races are in Arizona, a “toss-up” state favored by Biden. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Senator Bob Casey is seeking a fourth term. And in Nevada, Democratic Senator Jackie Rosen is running for second.

Sounds simple. But the year before the election, the same intra-party struggles erupted in some of the Republican party’s key target states.

Arizona is the most likely state to split in the Republican primary, giving Republicans an edge in the three-way race between Democrats and Cinema. She has lost her popularity since winning by a narrow margin as a Democrat in 2018.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, an extreme conservative and an avowed Trump supporter, is running. Another avid Trump supporter, Keri Lake, who narrowly lost the gubernatorial race last November, is actively seeking a run.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Ruben Gallego, who originally planned to challenge Cinema in the primary, is running in a race that’s nearly impossible to calculate at this point.

Beyond Arizona, Republicans could jeopardize their chances in three other states by picking candidates too far to the right. they are:

• Nevada: Election naysayer Jim Marchant, who lost last year’s election for secretary of state, recently became the first Republican to speak out against Rosen.

• Pennsylvania: Defeated pro-Trump gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano fell to wealthy businessman David McCormick, the party’s ruling party pick, who narrowly lost the primary for another seat in Pennsylvania last year. may object.

Polls show Casey, the son of a former governor, ahead of both Mastriano and McCormick.

• West Virginia: Top Republicans are backing wealthy former Democrat Governor Jim Justice for the seat currently held by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

Manchin, the most conservative Senate Democrat and frequent White House critic, was reelected by a narrow margin in 2018 with less than 50% of the vote. Manchin said he intends to decide by Jan. 15 if he wants to run for re-election, find another job, or retire. He refused to rule out running for an independent presidential election.

Polls show Justice has a double-digit lead over Manchin. But Rep. Alex Mooney, who won last year’s congressional election with the backing of President Trump, is also running. Several polls showed Justice beat Mooney, and polls showing Justice beat Manchin put the senator ahead of Mooney.

Other potential Republican leaders are the states Trump won big in 2020:

• Montana: The primary target of Montana Senator Steven Daines, who chairs the National Republican Senate Committee, is fellow Democrat Senator Jon Tester. But Republican officials were defeated in an attempt to change the election rules so that the third candidate would not drain enough votes to re-elect Tester.

The Republican choice is unclear. Rep. Matt Rosendale, an avid supporter of President Trump, is one possibility.

In 2018, Tester won by just 50.3%, giving Trump a 20-point lead over the state.

• Ohio: Senator Sherrod Brown, the state’s last major Democratic all-state office holder, said Trump had an 8-point lead over Republican CD Vance in the controversial 2022 Senate election. After his victory, he faces a tough challenge for a fourth term.

A Republican primary is likely. Wealthy businessman and Trump supporter Bernie Moreno has announced his candidacy, seeking reparations for the white soldiers who “freed the slaves” during the Civil War.

State Senator Matt Dolan, who came third in 2022 after criticizing President Trump for “electoral lies,” is also running. Several prominent Republican lawmakers are considering joining.

Republicans are also running against Senator Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, and Rep. Elissa Slotkin is looking to succeed retired Democrat Debbie Stavennow in Michigan. Both Democrats are now supported.

As in 2022, Republicans have several ways to win the few seats they need. Again, there are several ways to lose them.

Karl P. Loibsdorf is the former Washington Bureau Chief of the Dallas Morning News. Readers can write to him by e-mail to

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