Here are the competitive Senate races that will decide the 2024 Senate majority


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Last week I wrote about how the 2024 Senate landscape was becoming more clear. In order to retain a fifty seat de facto Senate majority, the Democrats needed to win all of the “Lean Democrat” and “Likely Democrat” races – which isn’t that difficult to do – plus all four “Toss up” races, which is trickier. But now we’ve gotten good news.

Various respected nonpartisan outlets assign ratings to races. You can rely on any of them, but I rely primarily on Cook Political Report, because their ratings have had the most accurate track record over the past few election cycles. And over the weekend Cook changed its rating for the 2024 Senate race in Arizona from “Toss up” to “Lean Democrat.”

In other words, the Democrats are now favored to win the race. They’re not favored by much, but they’re favored. You can thank a few factors for that, including the strength of Democratic candidate Ruben Gallego, the unpopularity of Republican candidate Kari Lake, and Kyrsten Sinema’s fortunate decision to retire instead of making it a three way race. Gallego will still need our help to win, because statewide elections in Arizona are always close these days. But we can now put Arizona into the column of “Lean Democrat” races where all we have to do is put in the work and we’ll likely win.

This leaves us with just three “Toss up” Senate races in 2024: Nevada, Montana, and Ohio. Yes, the Democrats have to win all three of them. But the good news is that all three races have Democratic incumbents. This means we don’t have to wait for any primary races to play out; we have our candidates now. Those three people are Senator Jacky Rosen in Nevada, Senator Jon Tester in Montana, and Senator Sherrod Brown in Ohio. The even better news is that these incumbents are individually popular enough within their states to overcome the red leanings of some of these states. Rosen, Tester, and Brown each have about a fifty-fifty chance of winning (or slightly better). We just have to get behind them. These three people need to become your best friends between now and November.

The cold hard reality is that there’s not a clear path for the Democrats to win anything more than fifty Senate seats in November. I’m still hoping that the landscape will fundamentally shift in Florida, Texas, or Tennessee, so that one or more of those races will end up being competitive. But as of right now none of those three are winnable, or even particularly close.

So I’m focused on putting in the work required to keep the Senate seats that we have, and retain a fifty seat majority. Keep in mind that this time around, a fifty seat majority would not be tainted by the likes of Manchin or Sinema, both of whom are retiring. It would be fifty Democratic Senators who act like real Democrats. Remember, President Biden’s ability to fill any Supreme Court vacancies in his second term will come down to whether he has fifty Democratic Senators or forty-nine. Fifty is everything. Forty-nine is nothing.

If we start putting in the work now to keep our fifty realistic Senate seats, then if things shift later this year such that one of those unwinnable Senate races does become winnable, we can dive into those races and try to pile on.

But for now, remember, it’s all about keeping fifty Senate seats. And the path to fifty centers around these three people. Get to know them. Set up recurring small dollar donations. Sign up for their volunteer lists so you can try phone banking remotely for them later. Follow them on Twitter so you can retweet their campaign messaging and donation links whenever they post them. Now is the time to make the effort to win the Senate:

Montana, Jon Tester • Campaign websiteDonateVolunteerTwitter

Nevada, Jacky Rosen • Campaign websiteDonateVolunteerTwitter

Ohio, Sherrod Brown • Campaign websiteDonateVolunteerTwitter

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Help keep Palmer Report firing on all cylinders in 2024