Pennsylvania Democrats had a good year in 2023, with wins from the state Supreme Court to local Delaware Valley school boards.

But one thing Keystone State Democrats didn’t have last year but do now: President Joe Biden on the ballot.

“Scranton Joe” may be a favorite son, but polls show Biden is consistently trailing former President Donald Trump in head-to-head match ups — though by less than two points.

Meanwhile, Republicans are fielding a seasoned, well-funded challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D). Businessman Dave McCormick was narrowly edged out in the 2022 GOP U.S. Senate primary due to Trump’s backing TV celebrity Dr. Oz. But with the Republican Party united behind McCormick and Casey running as a three-term incumbent at a time of political turmoil, CNN said, “This is likely to be Casey’s toughest Senate race yet.”

Regardless of who wins the presidency or the U.S. Senate, having strong Republicans at the top of the ticket could boost GOP turnout down ballot, and Democrats have a lot of seats at risk. That includes their razor-thin 102-101 majority in the Pennsylvania legislature and the attorney general’s job Democrat Josh Shapiro left to become governor. Interestingly, the state party failed to endorse one of the five Democrats running for attorney general, leaving the April 23 primary open.

Also on the GOP’s radar are several congressional seats, including those of U.S. Reps. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) and Matt Cartwright (D-Scranton). They top the Republican Party’s pickup list. And GOP sources say their eye is also on Delaware Valley’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester).

State Democratic Party Chair Sen. Shariff Street insisted his party is in good shape. “I am pleased and proud that democracy was served,” he said after the Winter State Committee meeting in December. “Critically, we unanimously endorsed President Joe Biden and Sen. Bob Casey because it is imperative for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States as a whole that they both get reelected.”

Imperative, perhaps. But not easy.

A recent Muhlenberg College poll put Biden’s favorability rating in his native state at 32 percent. That is despite making 31 trips to the Keystone State since taking office. Combine that with the fact that 84 percent of Pennsylvania voters told the Franklin & Marshall Poll that Biden was too old for a second term, and the state looks like a toss-up for the top Democrat at best.

“If his approval numbers don’t begin to creep up a little and voters’ views of the economy don’t start to shift a little, it may drag down the ticket,” Jeff Jubelirer of Bellevue Communications Group told DVJournal. Jubelirer said he sees Biden as the biggest area of concern for Democrats next year. “The top of the ticket will play a big role in voter turnout and behavior.”

Casey has performed well against expected Republican opponent McCormick. A Franklin & Marshall College poll had Casey ahead of McCormick by seven points. However, Casey also has a much higher name ID and a 36 percent job approval rating.

Craig Snyder, a Republican who recently supported Democrats, including Gov. Josh Shapiro, said he believes the two parties are defined by the “more extreme and loudest voices.” He sees the rhetorical and policy excesses of the left as the “greatest Democratic weakness” for 2024.

If so, Pennsylvania Democrats might be falling into that trap.

While Democratic U.S. Sen. John Fetterman has been a strong supporter of Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack, other members of his party — like U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-Allegheny) — have joined their progressive allies on college campuses to denounce the Jewish state. Polls show most Americans support Israel and don’t support chants of “From the river to the sea” by the Democratic Party’s progressive wing.

On education, the Democratic National Committee convinced the Pennsylvania state party in December to table a resolution that opposed school vouchers. It was seen as a rebuke to Shapiro, who worked with Republicans on school vouchers. A different version of the resolution mentioned Shapiro by name.

When state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) announced his run for state treasurer, his video featured scenes from the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol and the repeal of Roe v. Wade. He told The New York Times that incumbent Treasurer Stacy Garrity (R) is “one of those extreme folks” who must be booted from office.

The state treasurer is tasked with serving as “the custodian of more than $150 billion” in state funds and administrating programs that “provide an opportunity for financial empowerment for families.” Garrity’s office plays no role in conducting elections and has little overlap on social issues.

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta’s run for auditor general includes promises of creating a worker liaison and using “the power of the office to take on wage theft…and union busting.” During his run for U.S. Senate in 2022, Kenyatta argued for a “Democracy Observance Day” and expanding the U.S. Supreme Court.

One of Kenyatta’s opponents in the Democratic primary for auditor general, Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley, accused Republican incumbent Auditor General Tim DeFoor of trying to privatize education.

The auditor general’s office is the fiscal watchdog of the commonwealth. It makes sure the state’s money is properly and legally used.

Jubelirer said he isn’t sure if Democrats will win the auditor general and state treasurer offices. “Democrats have to give voters a reason to kick DeFoor and [incumbent GOP Treasurer Stacy] Garrity out of their jobs,” he said. “These are lower profile offices.

“These races will certainly be affected by the top of the ticket too, along with the Casey-McCormick race,” Jubelirer added.