Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is in trouble. One possible Republican candidate for Senate could easily oust him from the Senate – by winning most of his fellow Democrats.
Manchin – last election?
Joe Manchin is up for re-election to the Senate in 2024. He holds the Robert C. Byrd seat in the Senate. In fact he is the only Democratic State-wide officeholder left in West Virginia. His colleague, Shelley Moore Capito, is a Republican. She defeated Jay Rockefeller in 2014 to enter the Senate.
West Virginia’s politics are stranger than anyone could have imagined in the days of Senators Byrd and Rockefeller. In fact the reasons that all other officeholders are Republicans include Party switching by at least one such officeholder. Governor James C. Justice ran for Governor as a Democrat in 2016, then switched to Republican in his first year. Apparently sharing the stage with President Donald J. Trump convinced him. (He had been a registered Republican to begin with, as recently as 2015.)
Now this same Governor Justice faces his own career decision. He may not run for Governor again, because in West Virginia no Governor may serve more than two consecutive terms. For him the logical alternative would be to run for the Senate. If he did (according to The Daily Caller) he would win the support of fifty-one percent of Democrats. He also (according to Billings) would win 72 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of independents.
The only hope for Manchin is if Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) wins the governor’s primary. Manchin could beat him, but not Justice. But Justice beats Mooney, hands down.
What support could he expect?
What national support Manchin could expect, is difficult to determine. He has been a thorn in the side of President Biden and Leader Charles M. Schumer (D-N.Y.) since Biden took office and the Georgia Runoffs flipped the Senate. If a Republican takes Manchin’s seat, then the Senate goes as the Presidency goes. Biden, Schumer, and their handlers know this. But they also bitterly remember Manchin torpedoing some of their more radical visions for “sustainable development” and “alternative energy” to combat “climate change.” West Virginia is coal country, and Joe Manchin has never forgotten that.
On the other hand, Rep. Mooney seems to think Justice is not a true Republican. “Big RINO!” he cried in announcing his run for the Senate.
Mooney has the support of the Club for Growth, who cite Justice’ support for Biden’s massive infrastructure bill.
Justice has also gone on record as welcoming any petition by Virginia or western Maryland counties to join West Virginia. Those counties all vote Republican and have expressed frustration with Democratic dominance in their respective States. This became particularly acute in Virginia when Democrats gained a trifecta in 2019 under the administration of Governor Ralph Northam. Gun control became an early flashpoint, with most counties voting to become “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.”
Since then, the Governor’s mansion and House of Delegates in Virginia have flipped. Virginia’s Senate goes to re-election this fall.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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