Republicans Land Top Candidate in West Virginia While AOC ‘Not Planning’ to Run for Senate

Both parties received good news this week that cleared up some key question marks heading into the 2024 Senate campaign cycle.


Both parties received good news this week that cleared up some key question marks heading into the 2024 Senate campaign cycle.

  • In West Virginia, Republicans landed their top recruit to take on Sen. Joe Manchin. Gov. Jim Justice, the popular GOP incumbent, will take on the moderate Democrat in what shaping up to be the marquee Senate race of 2024.
  • Justice will need to see off conservative Rep. Alex Mooney in the GOP primary before he can set his sights on Manchin, who has not yet confirmed that he’ll be seeking reelection. Manchin released a statement vowing that he’d win “any race I enter” –
  • In New York, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shut the door on a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, sparing Democrats a nasty and expensive primary.
  • The New York Democrat’s spokeswoman told Politico Ocasio-Cortez “is not planning to primary Gillibrand.” AOC would have been a strong challenger to Gillibrand, and a Democrat v. Democrat fight in the expensive New York media market would’ve drained funds Democrats can now use to shore up more vulnerable seats.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • CNN assessed the top 10 Senate races most likely to flip parties in 2024. The three most vulnerable senators are all Democrats running for reelection in states Trump carried twice by 8 points or more – Manchin, Jon Tester in Montana and Sherrod Brown in Ohio. The top 8 most vulnerable senators were all elected as Democrats in 2018, while the most vulnerable Republican, Ted Cruz, is ranked ninth.
  • The Daily Beast reported, “In 2022, there was consistent chatter in quarters of the left in New York that the 33-year-old congresswoman would take on Sen. Chuck Schumer. As The Daily Beast reported in March, Gillibrand was warning donors that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo might enter the race, but so far, she’s managed to clear the field.”
  • The New York Times assessed the delicate relationship Senate Republicans maintain with former President Trump. NRSC Chair Steve Daines has endorsed Trump, and the Times reported the endorsement could help ensure top Republicans are unified heading into the 2024 Senate races.



  • National Review noted Justice is one of West Virginia’s most popular politicians. Justice’s popularity in a state former President Donald Trump carried by 40 points in 2020 will be key to dislodging Manchin after a long career in public office.
  • Breitbart reported the NRSC, the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, issued a statement praising Justice shortly after he entered the race. The NRSC hasn’t endorsed Justice, but he seems to be the preferred candidate of the Republicans in charge of winning Senate control.
  • The Wall Street Journal wrote Justice’s “entrance into the race marks a significant recruiting win for Republicans, who see the seat as a top target as they try to win back control of the Senate, where the Democratic caucus currently has a 51-49 majority. Mr. Justice, 72 years old, will be competing against Rep. Alex Mooney for the GOP nomination and is seen as the early favorite in that contest.”

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© Dominic Moore, 2023