Kate Anderson on January 24, 2023
A new report shows Democrats are looking at an uphill battle in the race to control the Senate in 2024, with 23 of their current seats up for grabs, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
After a stronger turnout in the 2022 midterm elections than anticipated, Democrats grabbed an additional seat in Pennsylvania after Democrat John Fetterman beat Republican candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, giving the Democrats 51 seats and the GOP 49. Ahead of the next election cycle, the Crystal Ball is predicting that the race to control the Senate could prove to be a difficult task for Democrats, with 23 seats in play, while Republicans only have 11 seats, according to the report.
The report estimated that Republicans would initially secure 50 seats and Democrats would hold 47, leaving three three toss-up states, Ohio, Montana and West Virginia, that swung to deep red states during President Donald Trump’s reelection bid in 2020, according to the report. Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are also considered viable options for Republicans after President Joe Biden took them by small margins.
The Cook Political Report (CPR) also listed Ohio and West Virginia as toss-up states, but swapped Montana for Arizona, according to a report released Tuesday.
While Republicans have 11 seats to defend in 2024, the Crystal Ball’s report puts all of those in the “safe” category due to the decreasing likelihood that voters in those states will be open to a Democratic senator. Due to this, CPR and the Crystal Ball’s indicated an easier road to a Senate majority for the GOP.
Kyle Kondik, managing editor of the Crystal Ball, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that while control of the senate is still very much a “toss-up overall,” Republicans have the easier job, particularly if they win the presidency.
“[Republicans] do not really have any truly challenging seats of their own to defend, and two, they have three targets (Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia) in states that the Republican presidential candidate is likely to carry,” Kondik stated. “Presidential and Senate results have become more and more correlated in recent years, and Republicans don’t even have to win all three of those races to win — they just need one if they win the White House, or two if they don’t.”
Both the Crystal Ball and CPR agreed that one of Florida’s senate seats, currently held by Republican Sen. Rick Scott, could potentially be a Democrat target in 2024 after Scott won in 2018 by a narrow margin of a tenth of a point, according to the Crystal Ball’s report. The Crystal Ball also listed a Texas seat as another potential weak spot for Republicans due to Sen. Ted Cruz beating candidate Beto O’Rourke by only 2.5 points.
CPR did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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