Chuck Schumer knows his job as Senate Majority Leader is in big trouble next year.
The 2024 Senate map is far more favorable for Republicans than 2022’s was.
But Chuck Schumer is shaking in his loafers over this potential new colleague hits far too close to home.
While many conservatives had high hopes for the 2022 Midterms, the U.S. Senate’s map last year always favored Democrats with Republicans having to defend more swing and open seats.
But the opposite is true in 2024.
Next year Republicans will be defending two seats that could be considered competitive – whereas Democrats will have to defend nine seats that are equally or even more competitive.
Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida will enter their respective races as favorites.
However, the election cycle got off to a rocky start early for Democrats, when incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – who is up for re-election next year – left the party and enrolled as an independent.
Then Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced she would retire rather than face Michigan voters again on the ballot in 2024.
Meanwhile the terms are up for democrat incumbents: Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Jon Tester of Montana; Jacky Rosen of Nevada; Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Tim Kaine of Virginia; Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
The last thing Democrat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wanted was to add his home state of New York to the list of competitive races.
But that might be the case now that former Rep. Lee Zeldin is saying he’s eyeing a bid for Senate next year.
“We’ll keep an eye on the race,” Zeldin said in Albany while visiting state lawmakers. “If we did run, it would be an extremely competitive race.”
Zeldin slammed Gillibrand’s record in eye-brow raising CPAC speech
Zeldin has already launched a national PAC, raising rumors of his potential Senate bid against incumbent Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
The two-term Senator recently sent out a fundraising email to her supporters suggesting she would need a sizable warchest if Zeldin is to challenge her in 2024.
“Our potential Republican opponent, Lee Zeldin, just attacked Kirsten Gillibrand on Twitter,” the email read. “As we gear up for the tough reelection fight ahead, we know this is only the beginning.”
Gillibrand alerted supporters that Zeldin is a threat to the Democrat’s Senate Majority
The attack she’s referencing comments Zeldin made at CPAC calling Gillibrand “forgettable” and “unaccomplished.”
“Senator-what’s-her-name is wasting a senate seat inside New York — and New Yorkers are getting rolled and screwed, because we have a senator who is not doing a good job representing all of us in New York,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin was one of only a few bright sports for the GOP in the 2022 midterm elections.
In a race that was never supposed to be close, the then-Congressman from Long Island ran an incredibly strong campaign against incumbent Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul – hitting her hard and often for being soft on crime.
In the end, Zeldin – who was never given a chance at being competitive by the so-called political “experts” — lost by just 5.5-points.
To give an idea of scope, in 2018, Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo won re-election by about 23.5-points.
In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden carried New York state by 23-points, only a half-point off of Cuomo’s 2018 gubernatorial pace.
Zeldin’s impressive performance at the top of the ticket was enough to lift several congressional candidates in the Empire State, and allowed the GOP to pick up four seats – enough to give Republicans the majority in the US House.
On a night where the GOP couldn’t win in the suburbs of Kansas, they made huge gains in New York’s blue turf – and much of the credit goes to Zeldin.
However, a big difference between a gubernatorial race and a senate race is that local issues that cut across party lines can often come into play in a race for governor.
The same is typically not true in senate races, where federal issues tend to rule the day.
New York hasn’t had a Republican Senator since Alfonse D’Amato – who was first elected in 1980 and served until losing in a landslide to Schumer in 1998.
Meanwhile, the Empire State’s last Republican governor, George Pataki, left office when he was term-limited out in 2009.
Stay tuned to Blue State Blues for any updates to this ongoing story.