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Presenting Your 2024 Senate Race Ratings
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Presenting Your 2024 Senate Race Ratings

Democrats have little room for error to hang on to their majority.

Bernie Moreno, Republican candidate for Senate, speaks at the Columbiana County Lincoln Day Dinner in Salem, Ohio, on March 15, 2024. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Bernie Moreno, Republican candidate for Senate, speaks at the Columbiana County Lincoln Day Dinner in Salem, Ohio, on March 15, 2024. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

There’s a very simple way to think about the battle for control of the United States Senate: Democrats have a one-seat majority and have essentially ceded one defeat in one race, West Virginia, where incumbent Joe Manchin is retiring.

That means that in all but the most unlikely scenarios, the only way Democrats can hang on to the Senate majority would be to: a) successfully defend every single other seat they currently have to get at 50-50 tie, and b) win the presidency and keep a Democratic vice-president to cast the deciding vote.

It’s certainly not impossible, but it leaves them little room for error. And of the 33 Senate seats that are up for grabs this year, the seven most competitive seats are all in Democratic hands. To even have a chance for a vice-presidentially empowered majority, Democrats will have to pitch a shutout, and they will have to do so in five swing states (Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) and two red states (Montana and Ohio).

We told you a similar story in 2022, though. Not only did Democrats hold all of their seats in a tough climate and with an unfavorable map, they flipped a seat in swing-state Pennsylvania. It’s far from impossible that they could repeat the feat. 

But there are some important differences, this time. 

First, it’s a presidential year, and lower-propensity, working-class voters who typically vote Republican will turn out in greater numbers. The correlation between the presidential and Senate votes will be high, tight, and strong. That’s fine for the party in power in blue-tinged states, but very tough in the red states.

Second, if the 2022 map was unfavorable for Democrats, this one is just ghastly. By the coincidence of Senate classes, the number of Democrats up for re-election is dramatically higher than Republicans. It’s the same class that was up when Barack Obama won a second term a dozen years ago and when Republicans took a midterm beating over the Iraq War in 2006. This is their most vulnerable cohort. While Republicans had a handful of seats that needed defending in 2022, the only two GOP seats that are even remotely competitive are in Texas and Florida. As we know from the previous point, it will be hard to get a challenger through in a presidential year in two states that will probably go solidly for the red team.

Third, in 2022 Republicans failed because they nominated more flakes than a box of cereal. That doesn’t seem to be happening at a similar scale so far. Tuesday’s Republican primary in Nevada was indicative. The mainstream GOP and MAGA united behind the best candidate and will cause real headaches for the Democratic incumbent. Now, it’s not certain that this will happen in the last remaining primary in a competitive state—Michigan on August 6—but it seems to be the most likely possibility. In just one race, Arizona, do Republicans appear willing to throw away a likely win for the sake of a flaky nominee.

For all those reasons, the chances of Democrats holding the Senate, even if President Joe Biden salvages his re-election, look quite poor right now. But there may yet be flakes undetected, and Senate Democrats are certainly running well ahead of Biden. We will keep watching and keep updating as the race rolls on.  

For your convenience, we have divided the races into five categories: Solid Democratic, Solid Republican, Lean Democratic, Lean Republican, and, the most competitive, Toss Up. So, without further ado, on to the rankings:  


Michigan (open seat): Incumbent: Debbie Stabenow (retiring); Democratic seat since 2000; 2020 result: Biden +2.8 

Nevada: Incumbent: Jacky Rosen (first elected 2018); Contest: Jacky Rosen (D) / Sam Brown (R); Democratic seat since 2018; 2020 result: Biden +2.4 

Ohio: Incumbent: Sherrod Brown (first elected 2006); Contest: Sherrod Brown (D) / Bernie Moreno (R); Democratic seat since 2006; 2020 result: Trump +8.1 

Lean Republican

Montana: Incumbent: Jon Tester (first elected 2006); Contest: Jon Tester (D) / Tim Sheehy (R); Democratic seat since 2006; 2020 result: Trump +16.4

Lean Democratic

Arizona (open seat): Incumbent: Kyrsten Sinema (retiring); Contest: Ruben Gallego (D) / Kari Lake (R); Independent seat (serves in Democratic majority) since 2022; 2020 result: Biden +0.3

Pennsylvania: Incumbent: Bob Casey Jr. (first elected 2006); Contest: Bob Casey Jr. (D) / Dave McCormick (R); Democratic seat since 2006; 2020 result: Biden +1.2  

Wisconsin: Incumbent: Tammy Baldwin (first elected 2006); Contest: Tammy Baldwin (D) / Eric Hovde (R); Democratic seat since 1957; 2020 result: Biden +0.6

Likely Democratic

Maryland (open seat): Incumbent: Ben Cardin (retiring); Contest: Angela Alsobrooks (D) / Larry Hogan (R); Democratic seat since 1976; 2020 result: Biden +33.2

Likely Republican

Florida: Incumbent: Rick Scott (first elected 2018); Contest: Rick Scott (R) / Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D); Republican seat since 2018; 2020 result: Trump +3.3

Texas: Incumbent: Ted Cruz (first elected 2012); Contest: Ted Cruz (R) / Colin Allred (D); Republican seat since 1993; 2020 result: Trump +5.6


Holy croakano! We welcome your feedback, so please email us with your tips, corrections, reactions, amplifications, etc. at STIREWALTISMS@THEDISPATCH.COM. If you’d like to be considered for publication, please include your real name and hometown. If you don’t want your comments to be made public, please specify.


Biden Job Performance
Average approval: 40.2%
Average disapproval: 56.2%
Net score: -16 points 

Change from one week ago: ↑ 0.6 points

Change from one month ago: ↑ 1.8 points

[Average includes: Echelon Insights: 42% approve-58% disapprove; Monmouth: 39% approve-57% disapprove; Financial Times: 42% approve-56% disapprove; TIPP: 36% approve-52% disapprove; NewsNation: 42% approve-58% disapprove]

General Election

Donald Trump: 42.0% (↓ 0.6 points from one week ago)
Joe Biden: 39.4%  (↓ 0.6)
Robert F. Kennedy Jr: 9.8% (↓ ↓ 0.6)

[Average includes: Emerson: Trump 44%-Biden 38%-Kennedy 6%; TIPP: Trump 38%-Biden 38%-Kennedy 10%; NPR/PBS/Marist: Trump 44%-Biden 40%-Kennedy 8%; Quinnipiac: Trump 38%-Biden 41%-Kennedy 14%; Fox News: Trump 43%-Biden 40%-Kennedy 11%]


Lapham’s Quarterly: “So, can we say—outside a chemical reaction—­what human energy is? …  It was of particular interest to late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century philosophers. Schopenhauer wrote about man’s ‘will to live,’ Freud of the libido being energy’s vital source, while in 1907, in his book Creative Evolution, the French philosopher Henri Bergson identified an élan vital that impelled consciousness and evolution. This notion also corresponds to the German word Lebensdrang, which translates as “life-urge.” Most languages have their own terms for it: Scottish Gaelic has two, lùth (‘energy’) and beòthachd (‘vigor’); Mandarin Chinese three, lìliàng (‘strength’), néngyuán (‘power’), and jīnglì (energies in the plural); and Hindi at least four, covering energy systems, consumption, sources, and supply. … [H]uman energy, fully defined, recalls a maxim attributed to W.B. Yeats: ‘Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.’”


Solid Republican 

West Virginia (open seat): Incumbent: Joe Manchin (special election 2010); Contest: Glenn Elliott (D) / Jim Justice (R); Democratic seat since 1958; 2020 result: Trump +38.9

Indiana (open seat): Incumbent: Mike Braun (first elected 2018, running for governor in 2024); Contest: Jim Banks (R) / Valerie McCray (D); Republican seat since 2018; 2020 result: Trump +16

Missouri: Incumbent: Josh Hawley (first elected 2018); Republican seat since 2018; 2020 result: Trump +15.4

Mississippi: Incumbent: Roger Wicker (first elected 2006); Contest: Roger Wicker (R) / Ty Pinkins (D); Republican seat since 1988; 2020 result: Trump +16.5

Nebraska: Incumbent: Deb Fischer (first elected 2012); Contest: Deb Fischer (R) / Dan Osborn (I); Republican seat since 2012; 2020 result: Trump +19.1

Nebraska: Incumbent: Pete Ricketts (appointed 2023); Contest: Pete Ricketts (R) / Preston Love Jr. (D); Republican seat since 1996; 2020 result: Trump +19.1

North Dakota: Incumbent: Kevin Cramer (first elected 2018); Republican seat since 2018; 2020 result: Trump  +33.3

Tennessee: Incumbent: Marsha Blackburn (first elected 2002); Republican seat since 1994; 2020 result: Trump +23.2

Utah (open seat): Incumbent: Mitt Romney (retiring); Republican seat since 1976; 2020 result: Trump +20.5

Wyoming: Incumbent: John Barrasso (appointed 2007, elected 2008); Republican seat since 1976; 2020 result: Trump +43.3

Solid Democratic 

California (open seat): Incumbent: Laphonza Butler (appointed 2023); Contest: Adam Schiff (D) / Steve Garvey (R); Democratic seat since 1992; 2020 result: Biden +29.2

Connecticut: Incumbent: Chris Murphy (first elected 2012); Democratic seat since 2012; 2020 result: Biden +20.1

Delaware (open seat): Incumbent: Tom Carper (retiring); Contest: Lisa Blunt Rochester (D) / Eric Hansen (R); Democratic seat since 2000; 2020 result: Biden +18.9 

Hawaii: Incumbent: Mazie Hirono (first elected 2012); Democratic seat since 1976; 2020 result: Biden 29.4

Maine: Incumbent: Angus King (first elected 2012); Independent (caucuses with Democrats) seat since 2012; 2020 result: Biden +9.1 

Massachusetts: Incumbents: Elizabeth Warren (first elected 2012); Democratic seat since 2012; 2020 result: Biden +33.5

Minnesota: Incumbent: Amy Klobuchar (first elected 2006); Democratic seat since 2000; 2020 result: Biden +7.1

New Jersey: Incumbent: Bob Menendez (first elected 2006); Contest: Andy Kim (D) / Curtis Bashaw (R) / Bob Menendez (I); Democratic seat since 1982; 2020 result: Biden +15.9

 New York: Incumbent: Kirsten Gillibrand (special election 2009); Democratic seat since 1976; 2020 result: Biden +23.2

New Mexico: Incumbent: Martin Heinrich (first elected 2012); Democratic seat since 1982; 2020 results: Biden +10.8

Rhode Island: Incumbent: Sheldon Whitehouse (first elected 2006); Democratic seat since 2006; 2020 result: Biden +20.8

Vermont: Incumbent: Bernie Sanders (first elected 2006); Independent (caucuses with Democrats) seat since 2001; 2020 result: Biden +35.4

Virginia: Incumbent: Tim Kaine (first elected 2012); Democratic seat since 2006; 2020 result: Biden +10.1

Washington: Incumbent: Maria Cantwell (first elected 2000); Democratic seat since 2000; 2020 result: Biden +19.2 


“Has anyone ever run the numbers to see if electoral votes were counted in all states by congressional district wins (like Maine and Nebraska) how the results might have changed (or not) in close years like 2004, 2016, and 2020? At first I thought the party that won the House in that year would have their nominee elected, but then thought about assigning the two electoral votes representing senators from each state to the candidate who won the state. Not sure what would happen next.”—Michael Wells, Holland, Massachusetts

Mr. Wells,

Great question! I have never seen exactly such an analysis, and haven’t looked very hard because it’s a little bit immaterial.

The argument for changing the Electoral College to work by congressional district instead of by state is that it would change the way candidates campaign and voters behave. There’s no incentive for candidates now to try to win the dozens of swing districts that currently get no attention on the presidential level because they are locked in lopsided majority states. In the Madison plan, blue islands in red states and red regions of blue states would get all kinds of attention and voters would have new incentives to participate. 

As for the two electoral votes that correspond to the senators, those would be awarded to the statewide winner. 

Thanks much and all best,


“In your response to the question about Kennedy potentially throwing the election to the House, you stated that the House can vote for ANY candidate that receives any electoral votes. I hadn’t realized we amended the language in the 12th Amendment, which restricts the choices to the top 3 candidates that receive electoral votes and the top 2 candidates for vice president in any Senate election. Still always enjoy your newsletters and your Sunday show.”—Steve Arthur, Arlington, Virginia

Mr. Arthur.

Right you are. The piece has been updated to remedy my thoughtless error.

Thank you for flagging.

All best,


“I was a bit disappointed in the way your interview went with your two guests on Sunday’s show.  I have almost completely stopped watching the Sunday political shows because I seldom learn anything new and can pretty well predict what the questions will be and how they will be answered.  I watch your show hoping to be better informed and given things to think about.  I was surprised you let [Rep. James Clyburn] off the hook on his disregard on polling numbers that he did not agree with.  I was even more surprised you let Ralph Reed ramble on and on about how charitable and apolitical the Christian community is. You could have easily challenged him specifically on the evangelical right and their abandonment of Christian values and their willingness to worship the Trump cult instead of the Bible. I also believe there are several local politicians who are attempting to ban contraception. I do read your work in The Dispatch and will continue to catch your Sunday show.”Tom Coyne, Buffalo, New York

Mr. Coyne,

I wish I could disagree with you more vehemently, but I definitely take your point.

The television interview, especially with a remote guest, is an imperfect medium and I am a very imperfect practitioner. 

The balance one is trying to strike in these situations is between allowing guests to have their say and holding them to account. If you argue points with the guests, you don’t get to the topics you want to discuss, but neither can you allow obvious falsehoods or evasions to go unnoticed. This is made more difficult in a remote interview because of the delay between what is said and what is heard. To interrupt a guest takes a sustained barrage from the anchor, not the easy back-and-forth of in-person conversation.

While I’m sure I might have done better with both Rep. Clyburn and Mr. Reed, if I am going to have to err on either the side of being argumentative or of being too passive, I’d rather avoid argumentation since there’s already way too much of that on television as it is.

But every week I get another chance to do better at finding the balance. I appreciate you sticking with us.

All best,


You should email us! Write to STIREWALTISMS@THEDISPATCH.COM with your tips, kudos, criticisms, insights, rediscovered words, wonderful names, recipes, and, always, good jokes. Please include your real name—at least first and last—and hometown. Make sure to let us know in the email if you want to keep your submission private. My colleague, the sorely missed Nate Moore, and I will look for your emails and then share the most interesting ones and my responses here. Clickety clack!


President Joe Biden delivers remarks on former U.S. President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict in his hush-money trial before speaking on the Middle East at the White House on May 31, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden said Trump had a fair trial and an impartial jury found him guilty on all 34 counts and added it is dangerous for anyone to say the trial was rigged. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on former U.S. President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict in his hush-money trial before speaking on the Middle East at the White House on May 31, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden said Trump had a fair trial and an impartial jury found him guilty on all 34 counts and added it is dangerous for anyone to say the trial was rigged. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A gift to Cutline Contest entrants this week: a recognizable figure, an odd expression, and an otherwise blank canvas on which to paint your gags. Our winner, though, was the one who found a way to take a culture reference and marry to a political joke about President Joe Biden’s penchant for exaggeration:

“That’s when I told Mike Tyson to bite this, if he dared. He didn’t dare.”—Michael Smith, Georgetown, Kentucky

Winner, Ask Mom’n Them Division:

“Do I know where I am? I’m rightcheer.”—Tom Walk, Greensboro, North Carolina

Winner, With a Rebel Yell Division:

“Do you think more of those kids will vote for me if I pierce this ear?”—Kevin Hodge, York, Pennsylvania

Winner, Yeeeesh Division:

“Biden reacts to latest swing state polls.”—David Porter, Tampa, Florida

Winner, Summer of Love Division:

“Biden out of the blue breaks into a mournful rendition of ‘Teach Your Children’ by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.”—Kevin Cook, Fort Worth, Texas

Winner, Burrowing In Division:

“The doctors think the brain worm got in right here.”—Michael Smith, Georgetown, Kentucky

Winner, Inside Jokes Division:

“Would anyone like to buy a Michael Avenatti Campaign button, cheap? For real, no hyperbole.”—Bob Goldman, Gilroy, California


Deutsche Welle: “Denmark’s food agency has recalled three brands of South Korean instant ramen, warning that they were so hot they might cause ‘acute poisoning.’ The noodles are made by Seoul-based Samyang Foods, one of South Korea’s largest companies, and sold across the globe. The recalled noodles include Buldak Samyang 3 x Spicy & Hot Chicken, Buldak Samyang 2 x Spicy & Hot Chicken and Buldak Samyang Hot Chicken Stew. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said the products contain an overly high dose of capsaicin. Capsaicin is an active ingredient in chili peppers as well as the chemical compound that causes the burning sensation when humans eat peppers. It can also be a neurotoxin and pose a health hazard. ‘The noodle dishes marketed as extremely strong must no longer be sold because consumers and especially children risk acute poisoning,’ the Danish agency said.”

Nate Moore contributed to this report.

Chris Stirewalt is a contributing editor at The Dispatch, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the politics editor for NewsNation, co-host of the Ink Stained Wretches podcast, and author of Broken News, a book on media and politics.