The 2022 midterm elections presented the Republican Party with an opportunity to regain control of both the House and the Senate. Between Joe Biden’s low approval ratings, high inflation, and record gas prices, it should have been a red wave on par with 1994 and 2010. Unfortunately, the Republican Party failed to win control of the Senate and just barely won the majority in the House. The Republican Party could have won seats in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania with the right candidates — heck, just winning half of those seats would have given them the majority.
Having a majority in the House is great, but had the GOP also managed to win a majority in the Senate, Joe Biden’s judicial confirmation spree would have ground to a halt.
Related: The 2024 Arizona Senate Race is an Opportunity the GOP Can’t Afford to Mess Up
Fortunately, the 2024 Senate map presents a promising opportunity for the Republican Party to regain control of the Senate. The map is even more favorable to the GOP than it was in 2022, and there is reason to believe that the party can win back the Senate with a comfortable margin.
In fact, that margin is so comfortable that some projections suggest that Democrats may face significant challenges in reclaiming the Senate majority until as late as 2030 or 2032 — but some Democrats think that may be too optimistic.
However, the question remains: will the GOP be able to capitalize on this opportunity?
For sure, there are plenty of ripe pick-up opportunities. In West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin appears to be in serious trouble. In Montana, Sen. John Tester has high approval ratings but only won his past two elections by about 18,000 votes. In Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown will also be up for reelection in a state that has become far redder since 2012 and is no longer considered a swing state by some experts. There are also opportunities in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Arizona.
The GOP doesn’t have to win many of these to reclaim the majority, but there’s reason to believe that the same mistakes they made in 2022 will be repeated in 2024. It all comes down to whether the party nominates the most viable candidates.
Doug Mastriano, who got clobbered by Josh Shapiro in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race in 2022, is the frontrunner to challenge Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). Longtime incumbent Casey will be a formidable opponent against even the strongest candidate the GOP has to offer, but Mastriano’s chances against him are slim.
Arizona is also considered to be a ripe pick-up opportunity as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, one of the most unpopular senators in the country, faces reelection. She recently changed her affiliation to independent, yet, according to recent polling, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) leads all potential GOP rivals, including Kari Lake, in head-to-head matchups, be they in a three-way race with Sinema or in a two-way race without her. Lake previously had a small edge in another poll.
The map may be favorable for the GOP to win the Senate majority in 2024, but I suspect that Democrats are feeling more confident now that Republican voters will continue to nominate weak and unelectable candidates in otherwise winnable races.