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Senator Jon Tester during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on FTX in Washington
Senator Jon Tester during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on FTX in Washington, on Dec. 14, 2022. Ting Shen / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tester still not ready to announce 2024 Senate plans

The Montana Democrat said he’s “got a few things to think about” before making a decision.


Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said he’s still undecided on whether to run for re-election in 2024, keeping Democrats in suspense for what will be a close-watched race.

“I’ve got a few things to think about,” Tester said Wednesday, while declining to provide a timeline for his decision other than sometime in 2023.

“Ultimately, in the end, I’ve got a farm that’s been in the family for over 100 years."

“We got to make sure that’s taken care of. We got to make sure that we’ve thought through all the procedures of what’s going to happen over the next eight years. And so once we get through with that, then we can come down and make a decision,” he added.

Tester, first elected in 2006, has held the seat through numerous election cycles, defying the heavy Republican lean of Montana and, over the last two years, giving his party a decisive vote to advance some of President Joe Biden’s priorities.

His decision looms large in the battle for Senate control in 2024 as it’s unclear any other Democrat could win in Montana.

The senator, who was joking around with Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., in a Senate subway, quipped that he’s “gotta go to the mountains and smoke some sagebrush” with Menendez before finalizing his plans.

Tester said that if he does run, he expects his opponent to be hand-picked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who recently told NBC News he’ll “actively” seek out strong candidates in the 2024 cycle after a disastrous midterm for the Senate GOP.

“It’s up to him. I mean, McConnell’s gonna choose who’s running,” Tester said. “If I run again, he’ll choose who’s running against me.”