Will Donald Trump prevent the GOP from winning the Senate again?: The Republicans failed to regain control of the Senate in 2022- something often attributed to lackluster candidates who had been endorsed by Donald Trump. Will that happen again in 2024?
Donald Trump: A Problem for the GOP Senate?
In 2022, the Republican Party failed to regain control of the U.S. Senate, with several candidates backed by former President Donald Trump losing races in swing states, including Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Blake Masters in Arizona, and Herschel Walker in Georgia. These were seen as signs that Trump’s coattails aren’t what they once were, leading him to have a short-lived dip in the polls.
Ultimately, only one seat (in Pennsylvania) changed parties, although Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona went on to switch from Democratic to Independent. But with Sinema still caucusing with the Democrats, they enjoy a 51-49 majority, compared to 50-50 in the first two years of the Biden presidency.
Now, a new report says Doanld Trump has a chance to threaten the GOP’s Senate chances again.
According to Axios, which cited comments from Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who described himself as “cautious” about Republican pickup opportunities in 2024- a year when the Democrats are defending more seats than the Republicans are.
“I just spent 10 minutes explaining to you how we could screw this up, and we’re working very hard to not let that happen. Let’s put it that way,” McConnell said.
He listed four opportunities for pickups: West Virginia, Montana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Those are seats currently held by Sen. Joe Manchin, Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Sen. Bob Casey.
And history could repeat itself in 2024, especially if Trump is once again the Republican nominee, a situation which would likely have him expressing opinions about who should be nominated in Senate races.
Democratic-controlled seats are also up in 2024 in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Maine, Virginia, and New Mexico.
“If Trump’s endorsements of weak candidates hurt GOP prospects in 2022, it’s the prospect that Trump will lead the GOP presidential ticket that could jeopardize purple-state opportunities in 2024,” Axios wrote.
That Arizona race is currently held by Sinema, and if the incumbent senator runs again, it will likely be a three-way race. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-TX) is running as a Democrat, while Republicans such as Kari Lake may get in the race as well.
According to KTAR, early polling of a three-way race in that state has Gallego winning in various combinations, both in two- and three-way races, with different Republican candidates such as former Gov. Doug Ducey, Masters and Lake in the race, and with or without Sinema running.
“OH Predictive Insights surveyed registered Arizona voters on eight potential 2024 general election matchups — two-way contests against four prominent Republicans plus three-way races with Sinema in the mix — and Gallego came out on top each time,” the report said.
Trump, meanwhile, has a huge advantage in the Republican nomination contest.
According to the latest Morning Consult tracking poll, Donald Trump has a huge lead on the Republican side, with 60 percent support, ahead of second-place Ron DeSantis with 19 percent. Mike Pence and Vivek Ramaswamy are tied for third with 5 percent, followed by Nikki Haley with 3 percent, Liz Cheney with 2 percent, and several other candidates with 1 percent each.
“Three in 5 potential Republican primary voters back Trump’s bid for the GOP nomination, giving him his largest lead yet over his current and potential rivals since Morning Consult began tracking the race in December,” the Morning Consult report said. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s yet to launch his candidacy, is supported by 19% of the party’s prospective electorate, his lowest level of support since tracking began.”
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.