DemDaily: Update on the Senate Landscape! Part Two. Michigan-Wisconsin

November 29, 2023

The landscape of the 2024 Senate races is now clearly defined, with Democrats defending twice as many seats as the GOP in their quest to hold onto their narrow 51-49 majority.

34 of the 100 US Senate seats are up for election in 2024, with Democrats defending 23, including three Independents that caucus with the Democrats. Republicans are defending 11 seats.

Of the 23 seats held by Democrats, 15 are considered "safe," including three open seats in the deep-blue states of Delaware (Tom Carper), California (Diane Feinstein) and Maryland (Ben Cardin).

Seven Democratic seats comprise the top battleground contests of 2024: Arizona, Ohio, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, where Senator Debbie Stabenow is retiring. An eighth seat, in West Virginia -- where incumbent Senator Joe Manchin is retiring -- is expected to flip to the GOP.

Comparatively, Republicans are defending nine "safe" seats, including the special election in Nebraska. In addition, vulnerable GOP incumbents are facing challenges in Florida and Texas -- among the country's largest electoral states.

See DemDailyUpdate on the Senate Landscape! Part One. Arizona-Maryland 11/27/23

Michigan: In the historic battleground state, where four-term Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, with the unofficial support of Stabenow and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Slotkin reported nearly $8.86 million raised as of September 30, far outpacing the five other Democrats running, including actor Hill Harper who reported raising just over $1 million since entering the race in July.

Former Congressman Peter Meijer, who lost his 2022 reelection after voting to impeach Trump, is the latest Republican to join a crowded field which includes former Congressman Mike Rogers, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, and seven other candidates.

A November 10-16 survey of likely voters by EPIC-MRI showed Slotkin beating both Craig (40%-38%) and Rogers (39%-37%) in a head-to-head matchup.

Montana: Senator Jon Tester, a moderate Democrat, is seeking a fourth term in an otherwise heavily Republican state that awarded Trump a 16-point win in 2020. Although one of the country's most popular Senators with a 58% approval rating, Tester's two reelections have been decided by less than 4%.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's anointed candidate, Bridger Aerospace CEO and former US Navy Seal Tim Sheehy, has the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). The primary would become highly competitive, however, should far-right Congressman and 2018 GOP Senate nominee Matthew Rosendale enter the race. Rosendale is being heavily recruited by state legislators, including the state Senate President and House Speaker.

A formidable fundraiser, Tester ended the third quarter with almost $20 million raised and $13 million cash on hand. Sheehy, who announced in June, reported raising $2.87 million with over $1.12 million on hand.

An October 1-4 Emerson College general election survey had Tester leading Sheehy 39%-35%, with 21% undecided. An October 23-25 Fabrizio Lee primary survey showed Sheehy ahead of Rosendale in the GOP primary, 44%-41%, with 15% undecided.

Nevada: Freshman Senator Jacky Rosen (D), who unseated incumbent Dean Heller (R) 50.4%-45.4% in 2018, is facing a serious reelection contest in the battleground state which Biden narrowly won in 2020.

The NRSC's endorsed candidate is businessman and disabled veteran Sam Brown, who lost the 2022 Senate primary to Paul Laxalt, 56% to 34%. Former State Assemblyman and 2020 election denier Jim Marchant is also vying for the GOP nomination, along with at least six other contenders.

An October 23-26 Tarrance Group survey of likely GOP primary votes places Brown far ahead of the field at 24%, followed by Marchant at 9% and the remaining candidates under 5%, with 41% undecided (MOE:± 4.1%). In a head-to-head matchup, Rosen leads Brown 45%-40%.

Brown, who entered the race in July, had raised $1.2 million as of September 30, with $937,853 cash on hand. A prolific fundraiser and tenacious campaigner, Rosen ended the third quarter with $16.1 million raised and $8.83 million cash on hand.

Ohio: Three-term incumbent Sherrod Brown (D) survived his 2018 reelection with 53.4%, but the Buckeye State has leaned increasingly red, handing Trump victories in 2016 and 2020.

The Ohio Republican primary is a three-man race between State Senator and 2022 US Senate candidate Matt Dolan, Cleveland businessman and 2022 US Senate candidate Bernie Moreno and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

Moreno, who entered the race in April with Trump's blessing, and was endorsed by Senator J.D. Vance in May, reported raising $6.5 million as of September 30. Dolan had raised $8.8 million and LaRose, who declared in July, raised just over $1 million. Brown reported $14.5 million at the end of the third quarter.

A November 10-13 Emerson College/WJW-TV Fox 8 Cleveland survey of Ohio voters found Brown leading each of the Republican opponents in head-to-head matchups, with Dolan the closest at 38% to Brown's 41%, with 22% of the electorate undecided. Among the Republican contenders, LaRose led with 18%, followed by Dolan (15%) and Moreno (10%), with 25% undecided (MOE ±3%).

Pennsylvania: In the critical presidential swing state, three-term Senator Bob Casey (D), who was reelected in 2018 by a double-digit margin, may be facing his most serious challenge.

National Republicans recruited former senior Treasury Department official and hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who lost the 2022 GOP Senate primary to Dr. Mehmet Oz by fewer than 1,000 votes.

McCormick, who announced September 21, self-financed over $14 million of the $20 million he raised for his 2022 Senate bid.

Casey led McCormick in a September 28-October 2 Quinnipiac University survey of registered voters, 50%-44%. The same poll showed Pennsylvanians have a 42% favorable opinion of Casey.

Casey reported a $14.46 million fundraising haul as of September 30, with $7.4 million on hand.

Texas: Two-term Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who fended off former Congressman Beto O'Rourke in 2018 by less than 3% points, is facing a formidable challenge from Democratic Congressman Colin Allred (CD-3).

Allred, a former NFL player and three-term representative from Dallas and its northeastern suburbs who entered the race in May, reported a total of $13.56 million raised as of the third quarter, with $7.9 million cash on hand. Cruz reported an astounding $40.8 million raised with $5.76 million cash on hand.

The last public polling, in May by the University of Texas at Tyler, showed Cruz leading Allred 42% to 37%, with 14% undecided (MOE ±3%).

Wisconsin: In the perennial swing state, the GOP has yet to recruit a name challenger to incumbent Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, who was reelected with 55.4% of the vote in 2018.

While Wisconsin is a battleground state, which Biden carried by less than 1% in 2020, no Republican has won Baldwin's seat since Joseph McCarthy in 1952.

The three Republicans who have filed to run, Trempealeau County Board Supervisor Stacey Klein, retired US Army Reserve officer Patrick Schaefer-Wicke, and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College Republicans Chair Rejani Raveendran, reported no fundraising activity. As of September 30, Baldwin had raised $17.96 million and had $6.8 million cash on hand.

Related
DemDaily: Update on the Senate Landscape! Part Two (Arizona-Maryland) 11/27/23
DemDaily: Following Feinstein 10/2/23
DemDaily: Romney Retirement a Boon to Conservatives 9/20/23
DemDaily: The Most Popular (and unpopular) Senators 9/13/23
DemDaily: Florida US Senate Race Heats Up! 8/23/23
DemDaily: Eyes on Ohio 7/18/23
DemDaily: Carper Announces Retirement from Congress 5/23/23
DemDaily: Cardin Retirement Sets Off Maryland Melee 4/3/23
DemDaily: Justice Jumps Into Senate Race 3/28/23
DemDaily: Measuring Michigan 2/28/23

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Sources: Ballotpedia, NBC, CNN,, AP, BridgeMI, Montana Free Press, Quinnipiac University, NPR, Emerson

 

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