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Tipsheet

This Vulnerable Democrat May Not Run Again in 2024

Charles Dharapak

Talk of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (I-AZ) switch from the Democratic Party to become an Independent, dominated the news since she announced late last week, including the Sunday news shows. That wasn't the only talk to do with 2024, when Sinema is up for reelection. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is up for reelection as well, and is considered a particularly vulnerable incumbent when it comes to a map that could already spell trouble for Democrats. 

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Tester appeared on Sunday's edition of "Meet the Press," where he was asked at length by Host Chuck Todd about Sinema's switch. Tester was rather nonchalant about her changing parties, emphasizing "I don't think it changes a thing," especially since she'll still caucus with the Democrats and retain her committee assignments.

Todd not only referenced Tester being up for reelection, but wondered aloud whether the only Democrat elected to statewide office in Montana would be pressured to change parties.

"Well, I say that because I'm sure you're going to get a lot of questions in Montana, 'Hey, why don't you leave the party?' And do you think that's going to be a good enough answer for that middle-of-the-road voter that you need to win," Todd asked the vulnerable Democrat.

Tester took his time in getting to his response, which even then was a non-answer. "I think what we need to focus on is what we've accomplished, whether it's for veterans, infrastructure, bringing jobs back to this country. The list is long. We've -- I've been able to do a lot of good things, working with other people in a bipartisan way in the United States Senate, working for small businesses and working families, and family farm agriculture," Tester offered.

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"That's what I'm going to be talking about as a record of accomplishment if I choose to run," he went on to share, the key word being "if." He did, however, express confidence he could win reelection, again, if he chooses to run. "And if we're able to do that and get that message out effectively, I will win as I've won in the past. If we're not effective in that, of course, then it's going to be a different outcome."

Tester is going to take time over the holidays to discuss with his family whether or not he'll run again, calling it "a big undertaking," even as there are members of Congress who have been in office for decades. 

"I feel good about my chances. People are going to come after me. They've come after me in the past. But nonetheless, that's politics, and we'll get through it and hopefully be successful come November of 2024," Tester added. 

The 2024 map puts 33 senators up for reelection, 23 of which are Democrats or who caucus with the Democrats. While there was hope for Republicans to take control of the Senate in last month's midterm elections, as they did the House, Democrats managed to expand their majority to 51 seats. 

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Sinema switching parties looks to have potentially made that map even more challenging to Democrats, as CNN's Harry Enten covered in an analysis on Saturday. 

When it comes to Sinema's own reelection, she has largely been expected to earn a primary challenge from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). He said during a Monday morning appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he's been very clear about being interested in this race, and that he'll discuss the a run with his family over the holidays. 



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