The Hill reports that retirements from the U.S. Senate could make it even more difficult than it is already going to be for the Democrats to hold the upper chamber in 2024.
Experts are predicting that holding onto the Senate in 2024 is going to be a difficult task for the Democrats given which seats are up for election and where these seats are located. There will be more on this later.
But, according to The Hill, the task is likely to be even more difficult than thought.
“Senate Democrats’ hopes of keeping their majority after the next election is complicated by a potential wave of retirements in key battleground and Republican-leaning states,” the outlet reports.
We already know one Democratic U.S. Senate who will be retiring, namely, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
Stabenow announced her retirement on Thursday, and Politico, shortly thereafter, reported, “Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s decision to not run for reelection jolted national Democrats on Thursday, setting off a mad scramble for a newly open battleground seat in 2024.”
The Hill quotes Steve Jarding, a Democratic strategist and former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee advisor, as saying, “this shapes up to be a very difficult cycle for Democrats anyway and this is just another blow to the chances of keeping the Senate when you lose an incumbent.”
It appears that it is this announcement from Stabenow got Democrats worried about other potential retirements. The Hill suggests such possibilities as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Tester (D-MT), and others.
While Stabenow’s seat is likely to stay with the Democrats, The Hill notes that the difficulty here is that some of these seats, such as the ones held by Manchin and Tester, would be difficult for Democrats to hold onto should they choose to retire.
The uphill battle
Even without any notable retirements, experts are predicting an uphill battle for the Democrats to hold onto the Senate in 2024.
Part of the problem for the Democrats is that, in the 2024 elections, they are going to have to defend 22 of the 34 seats that will be up for election. Another seat that will be up for grabs is that of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), a former Democrat who has recently registered as an independent.
To put this into perspective, in the 2022 midterm elections, the Democrats only had to defend about half as many seats, and they were barely able to retain control of the upper chamber, 51-49.
But, the problem is not just the number of Democrat-held Senate seats that are up for grabs. It’s also where these seats are located – some are in reliably red states and some are in swing states.
It is for these reasons that many are predicting the Democrats will not hold the Senate in 2024. Senate Democrat retirements could be a sign that the Democrats are well aware of this, but, as stated at the outset, such retirements could also make it easier for Republicans to come out on top.