This week, things got more interesting in the West Virginia Senate race of 2024. Jim Justice, popular Republican Governor in the state, threw in his hat in a battle that is expected to be fiercely contested for a seat Democrats desperately want to hold onto.
While his opponent, Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, has said he won’t run for reelection until the end of this year, he is very busy with things that suggest even to a casual observer, that he would like to keep the seat past 2024.
How does he do it? Two main strategies are the most important, and they both have a great deal to do with each other.
1) Distancing him from the “Democrats” label. He told a reporter in a recent interview he “identified himself as an American” when asked if he was a Democrat.
2) As fast as possible, Manchin is running away from Joe Biden, the Inflation Reduction Act, and President Biden, who became law in part because of Manchin’s flip-flop.
This plan is not without complications, however, Manchin may have caused some Senate Democrats and Biden problems from time to time his track record with Joe Biden speaks for itself.
Manu Raju, CNN’s congressional correspondent, asked Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., what he thought of Manchin.
Blumenthal said, “Joe Manchin was with us in all the important measures that forged a brand new era for Democratic Party.” “And he might be taking positions that cause some disagreement.” “He’s a Democrat at heart and votes with Democrats.” “I’m a big supporter of Joe Manchin staying in the United States Senate.”
WATCH: “Manchin voted with us on all the key measures that really forged a new era for the Democratic Party…at heart, he’s a Democrat.”
Blumenthal really saying the not-so-quiet part out loud here. Manchin sided with D.C. Democrats, not West Virginians. #WVSEN pic.twitter.com/IOOrmcoiLR
— Tate Mitchell (@tatemitchellga) April 28, 2023
You can be sure that the clip will be used in ads against Manchin if he decides to run for re-election, regardless of who wins the GOP Senate Primary in West Virginia in 2019. It could be Justice or Rep. Alex Mooney.
Manchin may have won elections in the past as a Democrat, but the state of West Virginia is now more Republican than Democratic. It’s also getting redder every day. This was evident in Manchin’s narrow victory in 2018, where he would have lost if it weren’t for the Libertarian candidate.
He has also never faced an opponent with the same resources as Justice. Justice not only has the support of the NRSC, but is also reportedly close to Donald Trump, and has a war chest to match Manchin. Justice has a higher approval rating with Democrats than Manchin, proving how unpopular Manchin really is among voters of both major parties in his home state.
In this race, I predict that Manchin will either decide not to run again or run as an Independent while trying to distance himself further from his party and president. As I said earlier, Manchin’s record speaks louder than what he actually has to say.