â€œIâ€™ve got very strong support in the conference,â€ Daines said.
Still, 2024 wonâ€™t be easy by any stretch. Both Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have proven difficult to defeat in recent elections; should they run again, they wonâ€™t be easy to beat two years from now.
And other competitive Senate races are likely in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida, where current NRSC Chair Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is up for reelection. Sen. Mitt Romneyâ€™s (R-Utah) term also ends in 2024, and he could face opposition in a primary if he runs for reelection.
But the most intriguing dynamic will be Dainesâ€™ backyard in Montana, the site of an ever-increasing rivalry between him and Tester, who chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2016 and is a formidable political force in his own right. Daines campaigned in 2018 with Testerâ€™s opponent, Matt Rosendale, though he shied away from personal attacks on the Democratic incumbent.
After Tester won re-election, he helped recruit former Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to run against Daines. The Republican dispatched Bullock handily in 2020.
Daines, for his part, downplayed any tension with Tester. Asked if it would be awkward to try and beat his senior senator, he replied: â€œThere will be a number of Senate races in 2024. And Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll be working hard.â€