With 34 Senate seats up for grabs in 2024 — 23 of them currently held by Democrats or independents that caucus with them — Republicans once again have a “great opportunity” to regain the Senate majority.

Democrats for their part, are using key issues of abortion and former President Donald Trump to defend their turf.

“The Senate majority is firmly in play, and Republicans have a great opportunity to win control of the Senate,” Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales told The Wall Street Journal. “But we’ve seen Republicans throw away opportunities before.”

Inside Elections rated eight of the 23 Democrat/independent seats to be competitive. All of the 11 Senate seats to be defended by Republicans are in states Trump won in 2020, and only the race of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is rated competitive.

Democrats currently hold 48 seats in the Senate, plus three independents (Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; and Angus King, I-Maine), giving them the narrow control over Republicans 51-49.

Projections for 2024 have 50 GOP seats “safe or likely” and 43 Democrat seats “safe or likely,” with nine seats “competitive,” according to the Journal’s analysis.

Toss-up seats:

  • Arizona: Krysten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party.
  • Montana: Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
  • Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Lean Democrat seats:

  • Michigan: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., not running for reelection.
  • Nevada: Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.
  • Pennsylvania: Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
  • Wisconsin: Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

Lean Republican seats:

  • Florida: Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.
  • Texas: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

But all that calculus comes down to the Republicans defending all of their seats (including “leans” of Cruz and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.), overtaking the seat being vacated by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and winning the White House to secure a 50-50 tiebreaker.

“That’s the ballgame: No other state needs to change hands,” Gonzales told the Journal. “But if Republicans are looking for a second seat, Ohio and Montana are the next places to go.”

That puts the onus on Tester and Brown to carry the Senate flag for Democrats if President Joe Biden was to return to the White House.

Expect abortion and Trump to be the key issues for Democrats, according to the report.

“Our senators are running on their records and their vision for the future, and all of our incumbents have a proven track record of winning in the state, and of running above whatever Democratic baseline may be,” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told the Journal.

“What we know is that [abortion ballot measures] turn out people big time, particularly younger voters. And younger voters are voting to protect fundamental rights and are voting Democratic when they get to the polls.”

A key Senate battleground state features Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. as chair of Senate Republicans’ campaign committee.

“I think our candidates are going to be clear and that is, we do not support a total ban of all abortions,” Daines told the Journal. “We believe there should be exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. And there should be reasonable limits placed on late-term abortions.”

Those are positions Trump takes on abortion — despite being the president that delivered the Supreme Court majority that kicked abortion law back to the states.

Democrats, though, might have an ally in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who Trump has accused of being more interested in defeating him than winning the Senate.

“He seems to be checked out now,” Trump told the New York Young Republicans Club Gala in a speech in early December. “I hope to hell to he gets out of there.”

Eric Mack | editorial.mack@newsmax.com

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

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