“We have the best map in a decade.”

NRSC Chair Daines Assesses the 2024 Political Landscape for Republicans

WASHINGTON, DC — National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) appeared before a luncheon meeting of The Ripon Society Wednesday afternoon, delivering remarks in which he not only assessed the political landscape for Republicans heading toward November, but highlighted nine races where the GOP has an opportunity to pick up seats and recapture the Senate majority next year.

“We have the best map in a decade,” Daines declared in his remarks to open the discussion. “It’s a chance for us to pick up the United States Senate. We’re more than halfway through this cycle and we’re already halfway to the majority. We need two seats to win the majority. We’re halfway there with Joe Manchin’s retirement in West Virginia … The challenges are, you can’t fall in love with this map because we’re running against some very strong incumbent Democrat Senators who know how to win in red states.”

Because of this, Daines said, he and his team at the NRSC have devoted a good bit of time over the past year to finding and recruiting candidates who can compete and win in the general election this fall.

“We want to have people who can actually win in general elections and can appeal to that independent middle of the spectrum, which is where elections are won and lost,” the Montana lawmaker stated.  He noted that one of those candidates is former Democrat and current West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

“We got him in the race,” Daines said.

And then, he added, President Trump endorsed him.

“It is very important,” Daines said of the former President’s endorsement.  “We’ve certainly got the cooperation and the help working with Trump and his political team.”

In addition to West Virginia, Daines also pointed to eight other states where the NRSC recruited candidates who can help Republicans recapture the Senate majority.  The states and candidates include:


“We’ve got a great recruit there in Tim Sheehy,” Daines stated. “He’s a Navy SEAL, with a hundred combat missions.  He’s a Naval Academy graduate. His wife is also a Naval Academy graduate, a Marine. They were married while they were both serving in Afghanistan by a judge in Kalispell, Montana, because Montana is the only state that allows a double proxy wedding. There’s true love right there.  It’s amazing. They have four children.

“He’s a businessman and a younger guy who’s got a lot of runway in life, depending on where he goes. Even after the Senate, this is a guy that could do a lot of things. Montana has the second highest per-capita veteran population in America. So, it kind of fits where we’re at as far as voter appeal and so forth against a very formidable challenger in Jon Tester.  They’re spending a million dollars a week right now in Montana on the Senate race alone, primarily beating up Tim Sheehy and trying to prop up Jon Tester … Because we know if you win Montana, you win the United States Senate.”


“Every single statewide elected official in Ohio is a Republican except for Sherrod Brown,” Daines observed. “The NRSC is staying neutral in Ohio.  But we think that Matt Dolan, Bernie Moreno, and Frank LaRose are all capable of beating Sherrod Brown. We will have a primary in March, and we’ll be off to the general election.”


“If you think about Nevada,” Daines said, “it’s a great big red state with this big blue ball at the bottom of it called Clark County – Las Vegas.  Las Vegas is where the Democrat votes are. The rest of the state’s very red. The key for a Republican to win Nevada is to focus on Clark County, focus on Las Vegas, focus on the culinary union members … who right now are battling the effects of Joe Biden’s 70% rise in prices since he took office.

“We’ve got Sam Brown in that race. He’s a West Point graduate, severely wounded by an IED in Afghanistan. He was literally wrapped up like a mummy with burns over 80% of his body.  He was sent to the San Antonio Burn Center. There was a dietician there named Amy, who through a feeding tube brought Sam Brown nutrition and [helped save his] life.  Their first date was at a rodeo in Texas.  They’re now Captain Sam and Amy Brown, married with children.  It’s a great American story.”


“We’ve got, I think, one of our most talented orators and politicians in Kari Lake,” Daines stated.  “Kari knows the key to winning in Arizona is focusing on the future and focusing on the issues her constituents care most about, which will be the border, inflation, crime, [and] what’s going on in geopolitics … That race is going to be very, very competitive. There’ve been five polls in Arizona that you’ve seen publicly.  Every one of them shows Lake and Gallego neck and neck.”

“We don’t see a path for Kyrsten Sinema to win reelection.  She’s got an April filing deadline. She’s got to get signatures to be on the ballot as an Independent. And I think they’re running out of time. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if she announced her retirement like Joe Manchin did.  I don’t know for sure – I really don’t. But she’s running out of time. And probably more importantly from a political calculus point, I don’t think she can win Arizona.”


“Dave McCormick is the guy who could win Pennsylvania,” the NRSC Chair said. “His campaign reminds me of a Proctor and Gamble brand launch. I mean, it’s just an enterprise-type of operation in terms of his fundraising, his branding, what he’s doing here in terms of operations as former CEO of Bridgewater. We love the fact that Dave is in that race. We were able to keep any possible primary challenges that would’ve upset that calculus to win Pennsylvania.  So we like where we’re at.”


“We are behind Mike Rogers,” Daines said of the contest that also includes former Congressman Peter Meijer running on the Republican side. “He spent 12 years in the House and served as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. If you want to talk about somebody who can come in cold to talk issue sets and so forth and keep unforced errors to a minimum, it’s Mike Rogers. He’s a very seasoned candidate who knows how to win in purple districts, as he has in the past. It’s an open seat. Open seats are a lot easier to win than incumbent seats. So, keep an eye on Michigan and Mike Rogers. He’s got a primary to get through, but, Mike, we think would be the best guy to win Michigan.”


“We’ll have a candidate most likely announcing there in February,” the Montana Republican observed.  “That’s Eric Hovde.  He’s looking at it very seriously.  He ran against Tommy Thompson back in 2012 and lost by three points. He’s been focused on the private sector for most of his career. He has some resources and will be likely our nominee.”

New Mexico

“We’re thrilled that Nella Domenici got in the race,” Daines said of the GOP candidate, whose late father Pete was a longtime venerated Senator from the state.  “Nella is very seasoned, bright, and a business leader. She worked with Dave McCormick at Bridgewater once upon a time. And Dave was really helpful in getting Nella to get in that race.  It’s a great name in New Mexico. And she’s a force of her own. She’s just an amazing businesswoman and a great leader.”

Daines concluded his remarks by talking about the stakes of the upcoming election and highlighting two reasons why he believes it is so critical that Republicans recapture the Senate this year.

“Kamala Harris has broken more ties than any Vice President in our nation’s history,” he stated.  “We’ve had 47 in our nation’s history. She just surpassed John Adams and John Calhoun, and they both served eight-year terms.  When you lose these close votes, you look at the 33 tie-breaking votes that she has cast.  Besides some of the far-left judges that we were not able to stop, we were also not able to stop $3 trillion in new spending … If you think about how expensive political races are, it’s very expensive to win, but it’s a whole lot more expensive to lose. Just look at what’s happening here in Washington.”

“Second, it’s most likely that Sinema and Manchin are not coming back to the United States Senate. Those were the two Democrats who saved the filibuster.  I was having a conversation with Joe Manchin about this on the floor before Christmas. He alluded to the fact that filibuster is probably gone if we didn’t get the majority back. That’s a sobering thought about what would happen, because DC statehood is teed up if they have the House – they’ve passed it on the House side a couple of times. The federal takeover of elections is teed up – that’s one of their high priorities. Adding four more Justices to the Supreme Court is teed up.”

“So that is what’s at stake in 2024.  We are optimistic, but it’s going to be a war between now and November.”

To view Senator Daines’ remarks before The Ripon Society Wednesday afternoon, please click the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.