The 9 Senate Races to Watch in 2024

The 9 Senate Races to Watch in 2024

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Next year’s competition for control of the U.S. Senate will be a critical battle as Democrats defend more seats than Republicans.

The Democrats currently control the upper chamber by the slimmest of margins, 51–49.

Whoever wins the Senate will control the legislation before the floor, as well as accept or reject judicial and executive nominees, who help shape policy.

Democrat strategist Mark Mellman predicts the Democrats could keep the Senate if the GOP puts up the same candidates that lost in crucial races in 2022. But, he told The Epoch Times, things are up in the air until the primaries are over.

The following are the nine crucial races that could determine who will take control of the Senate come Jan. 3, 2025.

1. Arizona

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In this swing state, it could ultimately be a three-way race between incumbent independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat Rep. Reuben Gallego, and former journalist and failed 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Other Republicans in the primary include Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, business consultant George Nicholson, and mechanical engineer Brian Wright.

President Joe Biden won The Grand Canyon state by just 0.3 percentage points in the 2020 election.

Ms. Lake is dominating the GOP primary, according to polling averages by RealClearPolitics.
However, most polls show both Ms. Lake and Mr. Lamb losing out in the general election to Mr. Gallego—who has been in the House since 2015. Ms. Sinema, the incumbent, is polling below 20 percent. The former Democrat switched her affiliation to independent in December 2022.

“I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington and formally registering as an Arizona Independent,” Ms. Sinema stated in a post on Twitter at the time.

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(L–R) Sen. Krysten Sinema from Arizona, who changed her party affiliation from Democrat to independent, in a hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in 2022; Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.,) holds a press conference in Tempe, Ariz., on March 14, 2023; and former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks at an event in Maryland on March 4, 2023. (Bonnie Cash-Pool/Getty Images, Rebecca Noble/AFP via Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images)

2. Ohio

While Republicans have won Ohio in the past three of five presidential elections, incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown won re-election in 2018, at the same time the GOP expanded its majority in the Senate.

Mr. Brown, who is known to be a blue-collar Democrat, is running for re-election, setting up a potentially tight race. He has been in the Senate since 2007.

Republicans who have declared a run include Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state senator Matt Dolan, and former car dealership owner and 2022 Senate candidate Bernie Moreno.

Mr. Moreno has been endorsed by Sens. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), while Mr. Dolan has been endorsed by Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy Haslam and his wife, Dee.

On his Truth Social platform on Dec. 19, former President Donald Trump endorsed Mr. Moreno, saying “a successful political outsider like Bernie” is needed to beat Mr. Brown.

Despite Mr. LaRose’s lack of major endorsements, he is leading in the GOP primary, according to current polling averages by RealClearPolitics.

President Trump won the Buckeye State by about 8 percentage points in 2020, roughly the same as his 2016 win over Hillary Clinton.

Most polls show Mr. Brown leading in a general election matchup, according to FiveThirtyEight.

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(L–R) Ohio State Sen. Matt Dolan, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks with a local television station in Cleveland on April 28, 2022; entrepreneur Bernie Moreno kicks off his campaign in suburban Cincinnati on April 18, 2023; and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose attends a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on July 12, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Courtesy of Everitt Townsend)

3. Pennsylvania

Incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey is running for re-election, but could face a tough race against David McCormick, who is the only Republican that has declared.

Mr. McCormick has garnered endorsements from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mt.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the fundraising arm of the Senate GOP.

Mr. McCormick narrowly lost the 2022 GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania to Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor that went on to lose the general election to Sen. John Fetterman, a progressive Democrat.

President Biden won the Keystone State by 1.17 percentage points in 2020.

Early polls show Mr. Casey leading Mr. McCormick in a general election matchup.

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(L–R) Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) at campaign rally in Philadelphia on Sept, 21, 2018; and Dave McCormick, Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate, during an event in Pittsburgh on May 17, 2022. (Mark Makela/Getty Images, Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

4. Montana

This red state could be a Republican pickup as the expected nominee, retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, could unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Jon Tester. 

Mr. Tester won re-election in 2018 by 3.55 percentage points against now-Rep. Matt Rosendale, a Republican, who has also expressed a possible run.

President Trump easily won the Treasure State in 2020 with close to 57 percent of the vote.

There has only been one poll conducted for this race in the past few months, from Emerson, which showed Mr. Tester leading Mr. Sheehy by 4 percentage points.

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Tim Sheehy, former Navy SEAL and 2024 Republican Senate candidate, in Montana; and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) at a press conference in Washington on June 16, 2022. (Courtesy of Tim Sheehy, Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

5. Nevada

Democrat Sen. Jacky Rosen is running for re-election in a state President Biden won in 2020 by just 2.39 percentage points.

Republicans who have jumped into the primary so far include Army veteran Sam Brown, who suffered burns to his face from a roadside bomb during his service in Afghanistan in 2008; and former state assemblyman Jim Marchant, who unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state in 2022 and Congress in 2020.

Mr. Brown has received endorsements from Sen. John Thune from South Dakota, as well as Americans for Prosperity, the largest conservative grassroots organization in the United States.

President Biden narrowly won the Silver State by just under 2.4 percentage points in 2020 whereas President Trump lost it by almost that much in the 2016 race.

The most recent poll, commissioned by the NRSC, shows Mr. Brown trailing Ms. Rosen in a general election head-to-head by 5 percentage points.

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(L–R) Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 10, 2021; Republican Army veteran Sam Brown is running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada; and Jim Marchant, Republican candidate for Nevada secretary of state, in Henderson, Nev., on Nov. 6, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images, Public domain)

6. West Virginia

With Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin not running for re-election, it is likely the Mountain State will flip to the GOP.

Gov. Jim Justice is the early favorite and likely winner, with big endorsements coming in from President Trump and Mr. McConnell.

Mr. Justice does, however, face a handful of other candidates in the primary, most notably Rep. Alex Mooney.

The only Democrat in the race at the moment is U.S. Marine Corps veteran and political organizer Zachary Shrewsbury.

President Trump overwhelmingly won the state in 2020 with almost 69 percent of the vote.

There have been no polls conducted since Mr. Manchin announced in November he will not seek a third term, but he has floated the idea of an independent run for president.

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announces that he is switching parties to become a Republican as President Donald Trump looks on at a campaign rally in Huntington, W.V., on Aug. 3, 2017. (Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

7. Michigan

Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow is running for re-election, but she’s up against Rep. Elissa Slotkin in the primary, who is winning in any matchup against the GOP candidates, according to the latest polling averages from FiveThirtyEight. Actor Hill Harper is also in the Democrat primary.

The race is still considered a likely tossup as the GOP field includes former Reps. Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer, as well as former Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

President Biden won the Wolverine State by 2.78 percentage points in 2020.

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Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) speaks to Michigan State University students and their supporters after a campus shooting, during a rally outside of the state Capitol Building in Lansing, Mich., on Feb. 15, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

8. Wisconsin

Incumbent Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin is running for re-election, after winning her second term in 2018 by almost 11 percentage points.

Republicans who have entered the race include county supervisor Stacey Klein; Rejani Raveendran, a 40-year old college student who is the president of her university Republicans chapter; and retired Army Reserve Sgt. Maj. Patrick Schaefer-Wicke.

Notable Republicans—including former Gov. Scott Walker, Reps. Mike Gallagher, Tom Tiffany, and Bryan Steil—have declined to throw their hat into the ring.

President Biden narrowly won the Badger State by 0.63 percentage points, or 20,682 votes, in 2020.

No up-to-date polls about the race have been published, but it’s looking like a tough hill to climb for Republicans.

 Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Nov. 29, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Nov. 29, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

9. New Jersey

This race is more about which Democrat will win the seat if embattled incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez can’t hold onto it.

Mr Menendex, who has been in the Senate since 2007 and in Congress since 1993, is facing federal corruption-related charges.

He faces big primary challengers in Democrats Tammy Murphy, wife of Gov. Phil Murphy, and Rep. Andy Kim.

If Mr. Menendez wins his primary, a Republican could pull off an upset, but it’s unlikely.

The GOP candidates that have declared are little-known: teacher Daniel Cruz, businessman Michael Estrada, Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, and Gregg Mele, an attorney who was the Libertarian Party nominee for the 2021 New Jersey gubernatorial race.

President Biden easily won the Garden State with more than 57 percent of the vote in 2020.

Except for a poll conducted by the left-wing group Data for Progress, showing Mr. Kim in the lead, there have been no reliable polls surrounding the race.

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(L–R) Sen. Bob Menendez, Tammy Murphy, wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) are all vying for the Democrat nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in 2024. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images, nj.gov, Franmarie Metzler, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Honorable Mentions

As in New Jersey, there are other races that are safely Democrat, but will determine how far left each seat is pushed.

This includes California and Maryland.

So far, three Democrat Congressmembers have announced a bid for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s vacant Senate seat in California. They include Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, and Barbara Lee. Mr. Schiff is dominating early polling.

On the GOP side, the only notable Senate race that is safe for the GOP that could be a test of the divide in the party is Utah, where Sen. Mitt Romney, a critic of the former president, is not running for re-election.

This race could be between candidates who support President Trump versus those who seek to move on from him.

Leading candidates so far in the Republican primary include Attorney General Sean Reyes, House Speaker Brad Wilson, and state Sen. Mike Kennedy, who lost to Mr. Romney in the 2018 GOP primary.

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