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Sen. Jon Tester running again in 2024: Why it’s HUGE for Democrats

By Lee Cleveland - February 23, 2023

With a slim 51 to 49 advantage in the U.S. Senate, Democrats will need all the help they can get to maintain control in 2024.


Unless something in the political landscape changes in the next 21 months, it’s unlikely Democrats will make gains in the Senate in 2024. In fact, they’ll have to perform at a high level in order to hold their majority.

Nearly all of the Republican-controlled seats that will be contested are considered “Safe Republican” while a bunch of contested Democrat seats could be conceivably flipped.

When Democrat Sen. Jon Tester announced his plans earlier today to run for re-election, Democrats “in the know” must have breathed a sigh of relief.

Had he decided not to run, his seat would have been a guaranteed flip for Republicans. And while there’s still a possibility his seat could be flipped, there’s a better than 50 percent chance it won’t.

Although he’s a Democrat in a very red state, he’s a tenured, well-liked incumbent who relates well to the people of Montana.

Tester won his current seat in 2006 and was re-elected in 2012 and 2018. And all three of those races were competitive with Tester’s largest margin of victory being just 3.8 percentage points.

In addition to Montana, Republicans are threatening to flip Democrat seats in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, and West Virginia as Democrats can ill-afford to lose more than one race to maintain control of the Senate, assuming they don’t flip any Republican seats. (And they probably won’t)

Democrats now await Sen. Joe Manchin’s decision. Should he decide not to run, his West Virginia seat will be locked flip for Republicans.

Like Tester, Manchin isn’t a liberal and doesn’t always side with Democrats; but if you’re a Democrat, Tester and Manchin are far better to have in those seats than their Republican alternatives.