National Democrats can breathe a massive sigh of relief after Montana Sen. Jon Tester — one of their two biggest retirement worries on a brutal 2024 Senate map — confirmed on Wednesday he would indeed seek reelection. The 66-year-old farmer had been publicly weighing calling it quits — a looming potential disaster for Democrats in an increasingly red state without a deep bench. Now, only West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who hasn’t yet committed to seeking reelection, remains Democrats’ biggest retirement worry.
Had Tester demurred, his seat in Big Sky country would have all but assuredly gone to Republicans in a presidential year in a state Joe Biden lost by 16 points (as would Manchin’s West Virginia in a seat with a R+22 PVI). Montana’s only other recent successful Democrat, then-Gov. Steve Bullock, was a top recruit in 2020, but lost by 10 points in his challenge to incumbent GOP Sen. Steve Daines. The junior senator is chairing the National Republican Senatorial Committee this cycle, so the race is a top priority and a crucial piece to finally winning
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