GOP targets 3 vulnerable Democrats in quest to win Senate, House control too early to predict

Senate seats in Ohio, Arizona and West Virginia are rated toss-ups.

Published: July 9, 2023 6:18am

Updated: July 10, 2023 4:45pm

Republicans would need to win three of the 2024 toss-up Senate races to retake control of the chamber but appear to be facing a more uphill battle to keep control of the House.

Thirty-three of 100 Senate seats are up for grabs next year. Right now, Democrats have a 51-49 majority, which includes 48 party members and three independents who caucus with them.

The three marquee toss-up races next year are in Arizona, Ohio and West Virginia, according to the Cook Political Report.

The Arizona seat is held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party to become an independent but has yet to officially say whether she'll seek reelection. 

Sinema doesn't have a clear GOP challenger yet, but Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego is seeking the Democrat nomination.

West Virginia's incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin is also up for reelection but has yet to officially announce his intentions. 

Manchin, a moderate, arguably faces the toughest reelection bid. He'll likely face popular GOP Gov. Jim Justice in a state with one of the most conservative-leaning electorates in the country.

A poll in May showed Justice leading Manchin 54-32% in a hypothetical matchup. 

In Ohio, incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown announced early, saying in November 2022, “I'm running in 2024 and I run to win."

Republicans have recently turned the traditional swing state red, with Donald Trump winning there in 2016 and 2020, and J.D. Vance winning in 2022 to keep Ohio's other Senate seat for the GOP. 

"Vulnerable Senate Democrats are gearing up for the race of their lives, they’re doing everything they can to hide their record of rubber-stamping Joe Biden’s agenda in the Senate," the National Republican Senate Committee said in late June after the publishing of an analysis showing a recent change of their voting patterns. 

Democrats are defending 23 Senate seats in 2024, compared to 10 for Republicans. In addition, there is a special election for the seat occupied by Nebraska Sen. Pete Ricketts, who was appointed to take over the seat from former Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who resigned to take the position of president of the University of Florida. 

Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey has announced that he will seek reelection. Given that Pennsylvania is a swing state and his seat is currently rated lean Democrat, it will likely be a competitive race. Casey recently had his best fundraising quarter to date.

Meanwhile, state Republican leaders are reportedly encouraging a familiar face in Pennsylvania GOP politics to run for the seat. David McCormick, the former hedge fund CEO who lost by a razor-thin margin to Dr. Mehmet Oz in the 2022 Republican primary, is a likely candidate to challenge Casey. 

Given that the Republican presidential nominee has won the state of Montana ever since the mid-1990s, incumbent Democratic Sen. John Tester's seat is in play.

While Cook Political Report rates his race as lean Democrat, others are projecting it a toss-up, given that Tester is the only Democrat to hold a statewide office in the traditionally red state. A Republican has yet to announce a bid for the seat.

Democrats are hoping to flip the Texas Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Democratic Rep. Colin Allred raised $6.2 million in the first two months of his campaign for the seat. Former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke raised a great deal of money in his bid to defeat Cruz in 2018 but ultimately lost by about 2.5%.  

In the House, Democrats need to pick up five seats to retake the majority the GOP won in 2022, and they appear optimistic considering the GOP must defend nearly a dozen seats just in California and New York.

Democrats appear to be most confident about winning back the Long Island, N.Y., seat held by scandal-plagued GOP Rep. George Santos.

There are 14 toss-up House races currently occupied by Republicans and 11 toss-up races for seats held by Democrats, according to the Cook Political Report's estimates. 

In California alone, Republicans are defending seven competitive seats, The Hill newspaper reported.

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