Big relief for Democrats as Sen. Jon Tester says he’ll run again in Montana in 2024: Increases party’s chances of fighting Republicans on brutal political map
- Democrats defend 23 seats against 11 for Republicans
- Trump won Montana by 16 points
- Tester’s decisions give Democrats a sigh of relief
Montana Sen. Jon Tester announced Wednesday that he will seek re-election in 2024, giving Democrats a sigh of relief as they face a highly unfavorable road map for the second straight cycle.
‘It’s official. I am running for re-election,” Tester tweeted Wednesday morning.
‘Montanans need a fighter to hold our government accountable and demand that Washington stand up for veterans and lower costs for families. I will always fight to uphold our Montana values. Let’s get on with it,’ he wrote.
Tester, 66, was first elected in 2006 and has shown his ability to stay in step with his state, which voted for Donald Trump by 16 percentage points. His decision allows Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer to avoid defending a vacant seat and dodge an additional recruiting challenge as he seeks to preserve his one-vote majority.
The news comes a day after Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee announced her decision to seek the California seat held by outgoing Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in what is expected to be a divisive primary in a heavily Democratic state.
RUNNING: ‘It’s official. I am running for re-election,” Senator Jon Tester tweeted Wednesday morning, in a move that allows Democrats to avoid defending a difficult vacant seat.
Tester acknowledged the difficulty even he will face in keeping the seat in the hands of the Democrats.
“Political experts say Montana is the top target for the Republican Party in 2024 and we need to be prepared,” he wrote in an online fundraising appeal. “Put in a couple of bucks to win this seat and keep McConnell from retaking the Senate majority,” he said, referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who hopes to get his old job back as majority leader.
Democrats will defend 23 seats in 2024, compared to 11 for Republicans. If the Democrats keep the White House, the Republicans must win two seats to get a majority. If the Republicans win the White House, they could secure control with just 50 seats and a single pickup truck.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer wants his incumbents to seek re-election as Democrats face an unfavorable map
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), as Tester, faces re-election in a state that opted for Donald Trump
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is trying to engineer a GOP takeover
Democrats also face challenges in another highly conservative state, West Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has been coy about his plans. He could seek re-election, or run for governor, or even run for the White House, or even run under another party’s label.
“Everything is on the table,” Manchin told NBC last month. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that when I make a decision, I make it based on what’s best … for my country and my state.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also announced that he will seek re-election in a state that Trump won.