Who’s next? Six Democratic senators who may retire ahead of a potentially brutal 2024 election

Who’s next? Six Democratic senators who may retire ahead of a potentially brutal 2024 election

Some Senate Democrats may consider retiring rather than face a potentially damaging re-election campaign in 2024.

While Democrats performed better than expected in the 2022 midterm elections, the 2024 election cycle — where Democrats will defend seats in several battleground states — could have a very different outcome.

In what could be the first of many similar announcements, Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced last week that she will not seek re-election in 2024. Stabenow’s decision to end her long Senate career in 2025 offers Republicans a pickup.

Democrats will defend 23 of the 34 Senate seats in the next cycle. Of their 23 up-and-coming seats, seven are in states won by former President Trump in 2016 or 2020. Republicans, however, will not defend a seat in a state won by President Biden, unlike in the 2022 midterms where the most competitive races were in the states that Biden won: Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona.


From Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, political prognosticators are wondering if some Democrats may soon announce a retirement from the chamber.

Sens. Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, center, and Jon Tester of Montana (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post | Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times | Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Here are six senators who may decide to retire rather than face the risk of losing in a 2024 electoral map that favors Republicans:

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin

Sen. Joe Manchin, perhaps the most vulnerable senator in 2024, has yet to announce his re-election intentions. Trump won the state by 39 percentage points in the 2020 election, making it ripe for a Republican takeover.

Manchin was instrumental in getting the Inflation Reduction Act through the finish line and could face a political price for his perceived capitulation in a predominantly working-class state with one of the nation’s leading coal industries.


Rep. Alex Mooney, the five-term West Virginia congressman, announced his intention to run for the Senate seat just a week after the midterm elections.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has also eyed Manchin’s seat for some time and has hinted that he was considering running again. After narrowly losing to Manchin in the 2018 state Senate race by just 3 percentage points, Morrisey said in November that he is “seriously evaluating” a run for governor or launching a second Senate bid in 2024.

Sen. Joe Manchin during a community hearing at Piketon High School in Piketon, Ohio, October 20, 2022. (Gaelen Morse/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who at 89 is the oldest serving senator, has not announced whether she will seek re-election in 2024.

After a 10-year reign as mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein lost a bid to become governor of California in 1990, but later won a special Senate election in 1992.

Feinstein is widely expected to announce in the coming months that she will not seek another term in office. Although she has not announced her intentions, other Democrats are lining up to take her place.

In a video clip shared on social media Tuesday, Rep. Katie Porter, D-California, announced she is entering the 2024 Golden State Senate race.


“We are living in a time of tremendous change. … Change can be electrifying and exciting, but change can also be devastating — like the ongoing assault on our democracy and the dangerous imbalance in our economy,” said Porter, who represents California’s 47th. Congressional District.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks during a news conference on Oct. 22, 2020, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP)

Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, who once ran for vice president as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, won re-election in his seat in 2018 with 57% of the vote.

But after Virginia elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin — flipping the governor’s seat in 2021 — the state looks less like a sure thing for Democrats to hold the Senate seat.

Youngkin, though he has made no announcement about future plans, has been floated as a possible candidate for Kaine’s seat in 2024.

Although Kaine has said he intends to run again in August, Democrats in Virginia have begun to speculate that the senator might retire instead, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported last week. When asked why Democrats seemed nervous about his withdrawal from another Senate run, Kaine told the paper, “They know I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who has served as Wisconsin’s junior senator since 2013, has not said whether she will seek re-election in the state Trump won by less than one percentage point in 2016.

After the 2022 state Senate election, in which Sen. Ron Johnson defeated Gov. Mandela Barnes by just over 25,000 votes, Baldwin, should she seek re-election, would face a series of concerns from conservative voters in the state.

Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. senator, has earned respect from members of her own party in a variety of ways, most notably her work on the Affordable Care Act. In her last two Senate races, Baldwin won by surprising margins. In 2012, she won by nearly six percentage points. In 2018, she won by just over 10 points.

Johnson’s victory over Barnes has boosted momentum in the state for both major political parties, and now the GOP is looking to build on that momentum in an effort to unseat Baldwin, who previously served in the US House for six years.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin speaks at a sign-in ceremony for the Respect for Marriage Act bills at the U.S. Capitol, Dec. 8, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester

Sen. Jon Tester, the three-term Democratic senator from Montana, is up for re-election in 2024. Tester has said his final decision on whether to run again would come early this year, and he told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that he “feels good for his chances” in a December interview.

Tester’s seat is considered one of the most vulnerable seats held by Democrats in 2024. Montana voted overwhelmingly for Trump by 16 points in 2020 and saw a string of GOP victories in the 2022 midterm elections.

Rep. Matt Rosendale, who has represented Montana’s 2nd Congressional District since 2021, ran for Senate against Tester in 2018 and lost by a narrow margin. Rosendale has expressed interest in a rematch with Tester, but has not announced whether he will run.


Rep. Ryan Zinke, elected to Montana’s 1st Congressional District in 2022, has also hinted at interest in the seat, but will decide on a Senate run sometime in 2023, he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Senator Jon Tester speaks during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, DC, June 22, 2022. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey announced last week that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December, raising concerns about whether he will seek re-election in 2024.

Despite the diagnosis and concerns about how it could affect his congressional career, Casey, who has served in the Senate since 2007, said he will undergo surgery in the coming months and that treatment for the condition his will not interrupt his service in the Senate.

Casey, the son of former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey Sr., defeated his GOP challenger, Lou Barletta, in the 2018 Senate race by 13 points.

After Republican candidate Mehmet Oz lost the 2022 state Senate race to Democrat John Fetterman, Republicans are looking for redemption. David McCormick, a former hedge fund executive who narrowly lost the GOP primary to Oz, is considering another run, according to a November report from Bloomberg.

Casey has not stated whether he will seek re-election.

Senator Bob Casey speaks during a campaign rally in Newtown, Pennsylvania, November 6, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)


Another senator who is expected to seek re-election in 2024 and may face difficulties is Arizona independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

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