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Senator Joe Manchin during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol
Senator Joe Manchin during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, on March 3, 2022. Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Eyes on 2024: Key Democratic senators still undecided on re-election

Manchin and Tester represent states that former President Donald Trump won by double-digits in 2020.

By and

Arguably the Democratic Party’s two most important senators up for re-election next year — Montana Sen. Jon Tester and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — both told NBC News on Wednesday they hadn’t decided whether they’ll run. 

Tester represents a state that Donald Trump won by about 16 points in 2020, and Manchin represents a state Trump won by almost 39 points. Both men are seen as Democrats’ best chance to hold both seats. And neither would tell NBC News’ Sahil Kapur whether they plan to run again. 

“Who knows?” Manchin said. “Our primary is not until May of 2024. And there’s nobody wanting in the wings or champing at the bit.”

“I’ve got a few things to think about,” Tester said.

Both men still have time to decide, and Democrats will breathe a sigh of relief if they decide to run. But if either (or both) take a pass, then they might start feeling anxious.  

In other campaign news: 

A litmus test: The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America’s top political strategist told the Associated Press the GOP’s presidential candidates must back a federal ban on abortion, though that ban can include exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother, to win its approval 

Virginia is for lovers (of Glenn Youngkin): A new poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy found Virginia votes giving Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin a 56% approval rating, and President Biden a 45% approval rating, per a press release. 

Michigan GOP looks for a path forward: NBC News’ Henry J. Gomez reports on how Michigan Republicans are trying to pick up the pieces after a rough showing in the 2022 midterms. 

Lake to Iowa: As Arizona Republican Kari Lake considers a Senate bid, she’s holding two February events in Iowa, where she graduated from high school and college, according to NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard

Roll Tide Roll: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis will be the headline speaker at the Alabama Republican Party’s Winter Dinner next month, Hillyard reports. 

Waiting for Asa: A new super PAC has launched to boost former Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson if he runs for president, per Fox News.

Trump bets on Banks: Former President Trump endorsed Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks’ Senate campaign. 

Cruz-ing into 2024: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is being “uncharacteristically cool” about his presidential ambitions, Politico report, as he is also up for re-election to the Senate next year. Politico also breaks down some of Cruz’s potential Democratic challengers, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

Worried about ’24: NBC News’ Jane Timm reports on how, despite a relatively smooth 2022 election, officials are still concerned about attempts to undercut future elections.