Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced last week that she will not be running for another term in 2024.
As The Hill noted in an article published this weekend, Stabenow’s unexpected retirement could rock Democrats in what was already expected to be a tough year.
GOP promises tough fight in historically blue state
The website pointed out that while Michigan is generally regarded as a blue state, former President Donald Trump managed to narrowly carry it in 2016.
What’s more, while Stabenow defeated now Rep.-elect John James by roughly six points in 2018, James came within just two points of beating Democratic Sen. Gary Peters when he ran again two years later.
Mike Berg serves as communications director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and he promised that the election to replace Stabenow will be hard-fought.
“Senate Democrats don’t even have a campaign chair yet and they are already dealing with a major retirement,” Berg was quoted as telling The Hill.
“We are going to aggressively target this seat in 2024. This could be the first of many Senate Democrats who decide to retire rather than lose,” he added.
However, Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes insisted that Democrats are well positioned to meet the challenge.
“Anybody who has watched Michigan over the past couple of years knows that we have a deep, deep bench of highly qualified folks,” she said.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman David Bergstein sounded undeterred as well saying, “In 2022 Michigan Democrats won resounding statewide victories, and we are confident Democrats will hold this Senate seat in 2024.”
Michigan-based Democratic strategist Adrian Hemond agreed, declaring, “Michigan is a purple state, but it leans blue. Democrats have a great shot at this, especially if they nominate the right candidate.”
Red state Democrats expected to be be vulnerable
Meanwhile Fox News contributor Sophia Slacik wrote in an article two months ago that Democrats are in for “an uphill battle” as a number of incumbents will be seeking reelection in red and swing states.
They include Montana Sen. Jon Tester, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Another embattled Democrat is Sen. Joe Machin, someone Slacik characterized as the Democratic Party’s “most vulnerable” Senate candidate.
Manchin represents West Virginia, a state where former President Trump carried almost 69% of the vote in 2020. Slacik pointed out that Manchin has yet to say whether he intends to run again and called his seat “ripe for a Republican pickup.”