Multiple Senate Democrats are departing ahead of what is expected to be a tough election year for the party and have announced their decision to not seek office again in 2024. Could other Democrats bow out of their races?
Last week, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., became the latest member of his party to announce he will not seek re-election to the upper chamber next year.
“I am proud of all I have done for Maryland. I have given my heart and soul to our great state, and I thank Marylanders for trusting me as your representative for all these years. Thank you, Maryland,” Cardin tweeted May 1, sharing a video of his retirement announcement.
Like several of his Senate counterparts, Cardin’s tenure in the Senate, which began in 2007, is slated to expire in January 2025. Similar to other aging senators who are viewing the optics and potential of the race, Cardin, 79, is looking to provide a younger member of his party with an opportunity to represent the Old Line State in the Senate.
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In February, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced she would not seek re-election in 2024, following in the footsteps of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who announced this year that she would relinquish her seat in the upper chamber when her term expires in less than two years.
The recent retirement announcements bring into question which other Democratic senators could step aside and watch from the sidelines of what is expected to be a rather bruising round of elections for the party as Democrats seek to defend a majority of the seats up for grabs next cycle.
A total of 34 Senate seats – 20 currently held by Democrats, 11 currently held by Republicans and three currently held by independents – will be up for grabs in the next cycle. The three independent senators currently caucus with Democrats in the Senate, meaning Democrats will be tasked with defending 23 of the 34 seats in 2024 if they wish to maintain their majority in the legislative body.
Two Senate Democrats – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Tom Carper of Delaware – have yet to announce whether they will seek elected office in their state’s respective November election next year.
Manchin – perhaps the most vulnerable senator in 2024 – has not announced whether he will seek re-election in the state that former President Donald Trump won by a whopping 39 percent points in the 2020 election, making his seat a key target for Republicans.
Manchin played an instrumental role in getting the Inflation Reduction Act across the finish line last year and may face a political price for his perceived capitulation in a predominantly working-class state with the second-largest coal industry in the nation.
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While the election isn’t until late next year, Republicans are already lining up to prevent Manchin from receiving another term in the Senate.
Rep. Alex Mooney, the five-term Republican West Virginia congressman, announced his intent to run for the Senate seat just a week after the November 2022 midterm elections.
Late last month, current West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a highly popular Republican in the state, also announced his candidacy in the state’s Senate race. Justice and Mooney traded barbs amid the announcement, with the Charles Town congressman calling the governor a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and declaring himself the “only conservative in the race.”
Unlike Manchin, Carper, the senior senator from Delaware, currently holds a seat that is viewed by many as a safe seat for Democrats to maintain control in the 2024 elections.
But that safety net does not mean retirement is out of the question for Carper, a former military officer who has represented Delaware in the Senate since 2001.
While Carper, 76, has not officially declared whether he will seek reelection in the next cycle, he said this year that he is focused on doing “what I need to, so I can run for reelection and be successful,” according to Bloomberg.
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Carper, according to the outlet, did not give a clear date as to when he would make a decision, but he said he will announce his intention “sometime this year.”
Other Senate Democrats with terms expiring in 2025 who have announced they will seek re-election in 2024 include: Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this article.