With candor, West Virginia’s Manchin describes dysfunction of Senate, announces reelection bid

UPDATE — 2/1, 2:05 p.m. EST: Following a series of attacks by Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) responded in a series of tweets, saying the “VP’s comments are exactly why Washington Sucks.”

Embarking on a campaign to oust 10 Democratic senators in states won by Donald Trump in 2016, Pence told employees at a truck dealership in White Sulpher Springs, W.Va., that Manchin “has voted ‘no’ time and again on the policies that West Virginia needs,” citing his opposition to the GOP tax reform bill, repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood. 

 

To the relief of many Democrats who are predicting a “blue wave” rout in the 2018 mid-term elections, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has opted to mount a reelection bid to preserve his seat.

Upon informing aides to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Manchin referred to the upper chamber in crude and colorful terms, saying: “This place sucks.”

“I’m running again because I know I can bridge the political divide and put the days of division behind us.  I want to continue to be a problem solver and to get things done for West Virginia and the country that I love,” Manchin said in a statement announcing he had filed paperwork to seek reelection.

Manchin explained further his description of the conditions in the Senate was delivered in the wake of what he found was an unnecessary government shutdown and endless gridlock.

Along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Manchin was instrumental in crafting a continuing resolution to end the shutdown on Monday.

One of 10 seats in the upper chamber considered vulnerable to Democrats aiming to regain the Senate majority, Manchin has found himself at odds with his Democratic colleagues of late.

Rankling his Democratic counterparts, Manchin, who represents an energy-sensitive state, has often sided with President Trump’s effort to dismantle Obama-era regulation and has voted in favor of several Cabinet appointees.  Manchin broke party lines and voted to confirm Jeff Sessions at DOJ, Steve Mnuchin to lead the Treasury and for Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.

Similarly, Manchin has vigorously supported Trump’s rollback of former President Obama’s regulatory agenda targeting the coal industry.  Manchin, 70, enjoys popular support in his home state and was returned to office in 2012 with 60 percent of the vote.

According to Dr. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, five Senate seats up for reelection in 2018 are considered “toss-ups”, three currently held by Democrats and two by Republicans. Six additional Democratic seats, including West Virginia, are labeled as only “lean” Democrat.

 

Editor’s note: The sixth paragraph of this article has been corrected.

 

[New York Times] [The Hill] [Fox News] [Photo courtesy Keren Carrion/The Hill]