Democratic Sen. Jon Tester is still hold backing on his 2024 Senate plans as he faces a brutal re-election battle in his home state of Montana.
“I’ve got a few things to think about,” Tester told NBC News on Wednesday. “Ultimately, in the end, I’ve got a farm that’s been in the family for over 100 years.”
The three-term senator is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for election next cycle. Montana has dramatically trended red since Tester last won re-election in 2018, according to Inside Elections’ Baseline metric.
The state overwhelmingly voted for former President Trump over President Biden by 16 points in 2020 and witnessed a string of GOP victories in the 2022 midterm elections.
“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,” Tester said, though he did not provide any concrete timeline for his re-election decision.
Tester had told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd late last year that he “feels good about his chances” and that he would make a decision in early 2023.
Republican’s Senate campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has begun targeting the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election in 2024, Tester included. The NRSC launched a series of attack ads against the Montana Democrat calling on Tester to “retire or get fired” in January.
Montana Senator and NRSC Chairman Steve Daines said in a previous statement Tester should expect a “brutal two years” of campaigning if he ultimately seeks re-election.
Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., a McCarthy holdout during the speakership battle earlier this year, ran against Tester in 2018 losing by a narrow margin in the general election. Rosendale has communicated interest in a rematch with Tester, but has not yet announced his candidacy.
Rep. Ryan Zinke, elected to Montana’s 1st Congressional District in 2022, has also hinted at his interest in the seat, but will decide on a Senate run some time in 2023, he said in an interview with the Associated Press last year.