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More Bad News for Democrats: Senator Announces That He Has Cancer

    Bob Casey has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the Senator from Pennsylvania announced on Thursday.

    “Last month I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While this news came as a shock, I can report that I have an excellent prognosis, as well as the benefit of exceptional medical care and the unwavering support of my family,” Casey said in a statement.

    Casey was first elected in 2006. He is the longest-serving Democratic senator in the history of Pennsylcania.

    “In the coming months, I will undergo surgery, after which I am expected to make a full recovery. I am confident that my recommended course of treatment will allow me to continue my service in the 118th Congress with minimal disruption, and I look forward to the work ahead,” Casey added.

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    While the 62-year-old senator will hopefully return to good health, there are darker clouds on the Democratic-controlled Senate’s horizon.

    Also on Thursday, Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow announced that she is retiring from office after representing Michigan for over 20 years.

    “Inspired by a new generation of leaders, I have decided to pass the torch in the U.S. Senate. I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election and will leave the U.S. Senate at the end of my term on January 3, 2025,” Stabenow announced on Thursday.

    “For the next two years, I am intensely focused on continuing this important work to improve the lives of Michiganders. This includes leading the passage of the next five-year Farm Bill which determines our nation’s food and agriculture policies,” she added.

    The news is a blow to Democrats, who hold a razor-thin advantage in the Senate due to three Independents that regularly caucus with their party: Angus King (ME), Bernie Sanders (VT), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). The Republicans currently hold 49 seats.

    The announcement is a further threat to Democrats’ chances of keeping their Senate majority in 2025, due in part to a tough Senate map this cycle.

    Democrats have to defend 23 Senate seats in the next election — including the Independent seats held by Sinema, Sanders and King.

    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also faces two possible retirements in red-leaning states: Jon Tester (MT) and Joe Manchin (WV). In addition, Senate Republicans only need to defend 10 seats in 2024 and the incumbents are not particularly vulnerable.

    Senator Debbie Stabenow’s retirement adds to a murky picture for Democrats heading into the next election.

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    OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.