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2024 Senate

Sabato's Crystal Ball

A Lieberman 2006 Repeat in 2024?

Last week, former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, a sitting Democratic senator who won reelection in 2006 as an independent following a primary loss, passed away. Some sitting senators up this year have similarly considered running without a major party label. These members include West Virginia's Joe Manchin (D) and New Jersey's Bob Menendez (D), although neither would be favorites if they took the plunge.

J. Miles Coleman

In Key Ohio Senate Primary, Republicans Go with Trump Again

We take a look at the ultimately not-close Ohio Republican Senate primary and other key results from the down-ballot primaries there and in Illinois. Right before the 2022 Ohio Senate primary, we asked a trusted source about rumblings that state Sen. Matt Dolan (R) was making a late charge in that race. This person’s response to the Dolan hype: “Just wishful thinking on part of moderate Rs in media.” Two years later, and the quote still applies.

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of Politics: March 13, 2024

In this week’s edition of Notes on the State of Politics, we’re looking down the ballot—both at the overall House map now that redistricting is likely done, and at some important primaries coming up in the Midwest next week, highlighted by the Republican Senate primary in Ohio.

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

What Stood Out from Super Tuesday

It turns out that the 2024 presidential primary process will not be historic, at least in this sense: Nikki Haley’s victory in the Washington, D.C. primary over the weekend and then Vermont on Tuesday foreclosed the possibility of both Joe Biden and Donald Trump each sweeping every nominating contest this year, something that has not happened in the modern era.

Kyle Kondik

The Postwar History of Senate/Presidential Ticket-Splitting, Part Two

This week, we’ll continue our look at the history of postwar split-ticket outcomes between presidential and Senate races. Last week, in Part One, we examined the years spanning from 1948 to 1980. Now, we’ll start with 1984, the year that then-President Ronald Reagan was easily reelected, and go up to 2020, when now-former President Donald Trump was not as successful in his reelection bid.

J. Miles Coleman

The Postwar History of Senate/Presidential Ticket-Splitting, Part One

In order to hold their Senate majority, Democrats are almost certainly going to have to win at least two and maybe more states that Republicans win at the presidential level. With a current 51-49 majority (including independents), Democrats are already set to lose an open seat in West Virginia, a state Republicans will win at the presidential level in a landslide, and they are defending Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jon Tester (D-MT) in states that also should vote Republican for president.

J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of the Senate

Last week, on what could have been a slow Friday in the political world, the nation’s attention turned to Maryland. On the final day of candidate filing, now-former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) entered his state’s open-seat Senate race. Though Maryland is one of the bluest states—it was Donald Trump’s third-worst state in 2020—Hogan, in office, routinely ranked among the most popular governors in the country, often sporting positive approval ratings with Democrats.

J. Miles Coleman

A Republican Senate in a Divided Government

Dear Readers: This is our last issue of 2023. We wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. — The Editors KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE — One plausible outcome next year is that Democrats hold the White House and flip the House of Representatives while Republicans flip the Senate. — That sort of divided government—a Democratic president with a Democratic House and a Republican Senate—has never happened in modern history. — This may come as a surprise given the structural advantages that Republicans appear to enjoy in the Senate. A different kind of divided government coming in 2025? Next November, Democrat Joe Biden may do what roughly two-thirds of incumbent party presidential nominees who ran for reelection have done: win reelection. In the U.S. House, court rulings in key redistricting cases, coupled with the political fallout from the Republicans’ internal chaos, gives Democrats a fighting chance to recapture the lower chamber. Because Democrats are playing defense in far more U.S. Senate seats, however, the GOP might flip the Senate. Should this not-so-far-fetched scenario unfold, the 2024 election will deliver two results unprecedented in modern American history. First, party control of both chambers will have flipped, but in

Thomas F. Schaller

The Congressional Retirement Flood

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE — Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) decision not to run for reelection next year pushes our rating for the West Virginia Senate race from Leans Republican to Safe Republican. — Next door, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D, VA-7) is forgoing reelection in her Biden +7 seat to focus on a 2025 gubernatorial run. Her district now becomes a better Republican target, although we think Democrats are small favorites to hold it, at least for now. — A flurry of other retirements across the board haven’t pushed us to reconsider other ratings, though some primaries may be consequential. Table 1: Crystal Ball Senate rating change Senator Old Rating New Rating WV Open (Manchin, D) Leans Republican Safe Republican Table 2: Crystal Ball House rating change Member/District Old Rating New Rating VA-7 Open (Spanberger, D) Likely Democratic Leans Democratic It’s that time of year When the holiday season starts to approach during the odd-numbered years, that can only mean one thing for political nerds: congressional retirement watch. As members shift from legislating to thinking about spending time with their families, Thanksgiving time is often when retirement announcements start to ramp up. The current cycle seems to fit nicely into

J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of Politics: Sept. 26, 2023

Dear Readers: This is the latest edition of Notes on the State of Politics, which features short updates on elections and politics. — The Editors New Jersey Senate: Gold bars, cash in envelopes — and a primary challenge In 1999, then-former Gov. Edwin Edwards (D-LA), who had spent a not-insignificant chunk of his 16 years as governor in and out of court, quipped, “People say I’ve had brushes with the law. That’s not true. I’ve had brushes with overzealous prosecutors.” At the time, Edwards was being accused of taking part in a bribery scheme involving riverboat casino licenses — he was later found guilty and served nearly a decade in jail. At a press conference yesterday, it was New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D) who found himself in the hot seat. On Friday, the three-term senator, who is running for reelection next year, was indicted on federal corruption charges. During a search of his home, federal agents found roughly $500,000 in cash stuffed in envelopes along with gold bars and other luxury items that the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office alleges were bribes the senator took in exchange to help Egyptian interests. Menendez, like Edwards, is no stranger to the courtroom: A year before his

J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of Politics: June 7, 2023

Dear Readers: This is the latest edition of Notes on the State of Politics, which features short updates on elections and politics. — The Editors New Hampshire and Democrats’ search for a gubernatorial target Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) did something a little unusual for a Republican these days — he decided against launching a presidential campaign. This comes amidst a flood of other Republicans jumping into the presidential race over the past couple of weeks, including Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), former Vice President Mike Pence, and Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND). Sununu, a critic of former President Donald Trump, said that he will instead devote his presidential campaigning toward seeing that Trump loses the primary. The four-term governor has not indicated whether he plans to seek reelection to what would be a fifth, two-year term. Only Sununu and John Lynch, a Democrat who served from 2005 to 2013, have been elected to the governorship four times in modern history. Sununu’s decision looms large over the 2023-2024 gubernatorial battlefield. If Sununu, who posted clear victories in 2018, 2020, and 2022 after an initial 2-point win in 2016, runs again, he would start as a favorite, owing to his

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of Politics: May 2, 2023

Biden may pass on New Hampshire test While it would not rank that high on the all-time list of ways in which the Donald Trump experience did not correspond with history, Trump’s electoral performance in 2020 was unusual in that he lost reelection despite a very strong showing in his own party’s presidential primary process. Despite challenges from former Gov. William Weld (R-MA) and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R, IL-8), a pair of decently-credentialed although hardly big-name rivals, Trump dominated the primary season, winning in aggregate 94% of the votes cast. That included getting 84.4% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, the traditional first-in-the-nation primary. As Table 1 makes clear, Trump’s Granite State showing looked a lot more like the performances turned in by incumbents who would be reelected later that election year than the showings of those who either declined to seek or lost reelection. Table 1: Incumbent presidential performance in New Hampshire primary, 1952-2020 Sources: CQ Press for results prior to 1972; New Hampshire Public Radio for results from 1972-present. Note that both Harry Truman in 1952 and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 turned in weak performances in New Hampshire prior to their eventual decisions to retire, and that Gerald

Kyle Kondik

How the Other Half Votes: Manchin and Tester’s Challenge

Dear Readers: Join us at 10:30 eastern this morning for a conversation with the Honorable Mark Brzezinski, Ambassador of the United States to Poland. The ambassador will discuss the latest issues impacting Poland and the U.S. with particular emphasis on the war in Ukraine. This virtual event will be streaming at And if you want to go behind the scenes of our Crystal Ball analyses and the headlines, subscribe to our Politics Is Everything podcast on Apple, Spotify, and all major platforms. In addition to discussing our Crystal Ball analyses, we talk politics and policy with experts like our Center for Politics scholars Tara Setmayer, Chris Krebs, Robert Costa, and Margaret Brennan. You can also help us by giving us a 5-star review. — The Editors KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE — Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) are outliers in Congress — no other Senate or House member holds a state/district that is more hostile to his or her party at the presidential level than this pair. — Montana and especially West Virginia are deeply Republican at the presidential level, and while Manchin and Tester have clearly run way ahead of Democratic presidential performance in recent

Kyle Kondik

The Senate Primaries to Watch So Far

  Dear Readers: Join us next Wednesday, Feb. 22 for “A Conversation with Former/Future Republicans Bill Kristol and David Ramadan.” Kristol, a longtime political commentator, and Ramadan, a Center for Politics scholar and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, will discuss the past and future of the Republican Party and their concerns about the state of our democracy. Their conversation will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. eastern at the Colonnade Club Solarium on the Grounds of the University of Virginia. It is free and open to the public with advanced registration through Eventbrite, and it will also be streamed at — The Editors KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE — It has been over a decade since an incumbent senator was successfully primaried in a regularly-scheduled election; though a few senators may be vulnerable, 2024 may continue that streak. — Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) decision to retire removed one vulnerable senator from the primary conversation; Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-AZ) decision to leave the Democratic Party removed another. Among the other incumbents who are still deciding whether to run for reelection, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) stands out as someone who could hypothetically be vulnerable in a primary.

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

The Shocking Decline of Senate Ticket-Splitting

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE — Senate races are increasingly converging with presidential partisanship, to the point where the huge overperformances that were so common a decade or two ago have become much less common. — Since 2000, the number of senators who have run more than 10 points ahead of their party’s presidential nominee has decreased sharply. — This trend helps explain why we currently rate Democratic-held West Virginia as Leans Republican and started off Montana and Ohio as Toss-ups. Senate race trends since 2000 Last week, when we put out our first look at the 2024 Senate map, we issued a rare rating: We started an incumbent off as an underdog. Specifically, we put the West Virginia contest in the Leans Republican category. Though Sen. Joe Manchin has not officially announced his plans, the reality is that any Democrat, even as one as successful as Manchin, faces a daunting challenge in West Virginia. Some of Manchin’s worries are state-specific. One of the (several) unexpected success stories for national Democrats last year was their showing in state legislative races: They gained governmental trifectas in several states and held their own in the overall state legislative seat count across the

J. Miles Coleman