Joe Manchin’s growing field of GOP challengers could spell trouble for his re-election
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchina Democrat, he faces a growing number of potential Republican opponents who could spell trouble as he faces his upcoming re-election campaign.
For the past two years, Manchin, a moderate Democrat, has been king of the Senate, as he and moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have played back against some big blue priorities amid the margin is as thin as a razor.
Manchin’s position as a moderate has given him great leverage in the chamber, as a “no” or “abstention” vote from him could sink any Democratic bill in the 50-50 Senate.
JOE MANCHIN GETS GOP CHALLENGER FOE HIS WEST VIRGINIA SENATE SEAT
The West Virginia Democrat has openly wielded that influence, using his power to push back on party priorities that could disrupt the fabric of the Senate, such as eliminating the filibuster.
That power, however, has drawn scrutiny with other Democrats, especially progressives, attacking Manchin and Sinema for their votes against those priorities.
Amid the party’s discord with Manchin, he has secured at least a couple of potential GOP challengers as his seat increases in 2024.
A week after his re-election to the House, West Virginia Republican Rep. Alex Mooney announced that it would be current to take on Manchin for all the marbles.
The West Virginia Republican is already hitting the ground running, taking a shot at Manchin last week on “Fox & Friends” saying he’s too liberal to be the state senator for another term.
“I don’t think Joe Manchin represents our state well and I think we need a change for a true conservative,” Mooney said.
Mooney also said he believes West Virginia should have a Republican representing the state in the Senate.
Mooney brings a serious Republican challenger to the race for a seat that represents a state that has been moving steadily red. His recent electoral margin shows that, in at least one of the mountain state’s two congressional districts, he could get some serious votes.
Another potential challenger is Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican who was a Democrat from 2015 to 2017.
State media reported Tuesday that Justice is “very seriously considering” a run for Manchin’s seat and would continue his term as state executive through 2024.
“You’ll know soon enough,” Justice said at his press conference on COVID-19.
Republican challengers still face a tough fight for the Senate seat, even in a state that is swinging more toward the GOP.
Manchin noted in a recent Fox News interview that he has opposed “every election” he has participated in and encouraged “people to get involved in the process.”
The Democratic senator also said he believes the GOP will have a robust primary for the 2024 race.
“I think it’s going to be a very exciting and crowded primary on the Republican side, and we’ll just see how it goes,” Manchin said.
Manchin is an established political figure and popular among West Virginians. He has been in the Senate since 2010 and also served as the state’s governor.
However, in his last election, Manchin only beat his Republican challenger, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, by just over three points.
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Even with his political career established and his influence in the Senate, Manchin will have an elephant-sized target on his back heading into 2024 as Republicans seek to take the seat.
Also, with West Virginia in the red, the Democratic presidential nominee will have a significant effect on Manchin’s re-election chances.