by Garrett Frisk
The 2024 U.S. Senate map is brutal for Democrats. Even if they hold the presidency, they can only afford a net loss of 1 seat in the Senate; but not only do they essentially have no offensive targets, they will have to expend considerable effort playing defense. There are three Democratic Senators up for re-election in states that Donald Trump carried in 2020 by 8.03%, 16.37%, and 38.9%, respectively. These extremely vulnerable incumbents will pull resources away from other at-risk Democrats, including Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin. Many Democrats are confident that Baldwin can survive given her impressive double-digit win in 2018, but Republicans are likely to target her, especially after Republican Senator Ron Johnson's successful re-election bid in 2022. Media sources have produced long lists of Republicans who could mount a campaign, but there is already a conservative candidate running against Baldwin, and he isn't a Republican.
Phil Anderson is a realtor and Army veteran who previously served as chair of the Wisconsin Libertarian Party. He has waged a series of unsuccessful campaigns for public office as the Libertarian nominee, starting with a 2014 bid for the Wisconsin State Assembly where he polled 18.4% of the vote in a two-way race with Democratic incumbent Robb Kahl. He then ran for U.S. Senate in 2016, which was also his most successful campaign in terms of raw votes; he polled over 87,000 votes, roughly 3% of the total. In 2018, Anderson was the Libertarian nominee for Governor of Wisconsin, and in 2020, Anderson and his son Samuel won the Republican nominations for two State Assembly districts, describing themselves as "libertarians running under the Republican banner." Both men were running in overwhelmingly liberal districts and lost badly. Phil Anderson sat out 2022, but has returned to mount a second bid for U.S. Senate, now back to running as a Libertarian. His campaign website can be found here.