Carper retirement opens fourth Democrat Senate seat, further endangering Schumer's majority
Four Democratic senators are not seeking reelection so far this election.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
The retirement Monday of long-time Delaware Sen. Tom Carper will force Democrats to defend at least four open Senate seats in 2024 and further complicates Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's effort to retain his party's razor-thin majority.
While Delaware is a liberal state in which Democrats are likely to retain the seat in 2024, having to defend four will further spread the party's resources, including cash, creating opportunities for the GOP in other states.
"Senate Democrats keep retiring because they know they are going to lose the majority," NRSC spokesman Tate Mitchell said after Carper's retirement announcement.
The other three Senate Democrats to have officially announced their retirement so far this year are California's Dianne Feinstein, Maryland's Ben Cardin and Michigan's Debbie Stabenow.
While California and Maryland will almost certainly remain Democrat, the GOP sees opportunity in Michigan, a swing state, considering Republican Donald Trump won there in his successful 2016 presidential bid. However, in 2020 he lost to Democrat Joe Biden roughly 51-48%.
Still, Republicans see other opportunities to flip the Democrats' 51-to-49 seat Senate majority – in West Virginia and Arizona.
West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party and became an independent, have been mum about their 2024 reelection plans.
In Arizona, 2022 GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake would likely run against Sinema and Democrat Rep. Ruben Galego.
Lake narrowly lost her governor's race, 49.7-to-50.3% to Democrat Katie Hobbs and has kept her name in the public eye in legal battles to have the results reviewed.
In West Virginia, Republican Gov. Jim Justice has announced his bid for the Senate seat. Justice's chances against Manchin in the traditionally red state are strong, given that he remains one of the most popular governors in the country based on recent polling.
Justice also has a higher approval rating among West Virginia voters compared to Manchin, who has voted with the Democrats on major pieces of legislation that passed without any Republican votes, including the American Rescue Plan, a pandemic stimulus bill, and the Inflation Reduction Act, a climate change and social spending bill.
Just the News reached out to the Republican National Committee about the retirements but did not receive a response before press time.
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