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Democrat Senator Gets First Challenge To Keeping His Spot In The Senate

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin had been a popular Democrat senator among Republicans as he stood against much of what President Joe Biden wanted. Most importantly he has stood against changing the rules for the filibuster which has stopped Democrats from codifying abortion rights and changing the rules for voting.

But he gave in to Biden on some important issues and that has some Republicans saying that a change is needed, and now he has a Republican challenger, Fox News reported. West Virginia Republican Rep. Alex Mooney said that he will challenge Sen. Manchin to become the next senator from the state.

“West Virginia values are at risk in this country. We’re bankrupting America. I want to be a part of the solution there,” he said in an interview with MetroNews Talkline on Tuesday. “It’s been talked about a lot, but I’m going to announce. I’m announcing right now that I’m running for the U.S. Senate. I’m all in.”

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Manchin faced his toughest challenge in 2018 when he won by only three percent and could face a tight challenge from Mooney as West Virginia grows increasingly Republican. The moderate Democrat has faced criticism within his party as a swing vote in the 50-50 Senate during the last two years. Mooney became the first Hispanic congressman to represent West Virginia when he assumed office in 2015. Previously, he worked as a chair of the Maryland Republican Party, where he represented a western district.

Manchin drew national attention when he announced his opposition to Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which needed his vote to pass in the Senate. He continued negotiations with the White House as the bill evolved into the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed thanks to his vote.

A spokesperson for Manchin, Sam Runyon, said that Sen. Manchin welcomes the challenge.

“A robust democratic process has never been more important to our country and Senator Manchin encourages every candidate who values public service to enter the race,” he said to Fox News.

The West Virginia Senator may have caused his own issues by backing the Inflation Reduction Act, it was reported in September.

The Senator appears to have burned up all political capital he earned after he made a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) behind closed doors on anti-inflation legislation several analyses have predicted won’t do anything to lower prices.

“A new poll released Wednesday by Jackson County radio station WMOV 1360 AM and Oregon-based Triton Polling and Research found that U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is vulnerable after his support for the Inflation Reduction Act,” the Parkersburg News and Sentinel reported.

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The outlet added:

According to the poll, 66.1% of the 762 respondents had an unfavorable impression of Manchin, D-W.Va. Only 26.3% had a favorable impression of Manchin with just 3.8% unsure and 3.6% with no opinion either way.

The WMOV/Triton poll was conducted Aug. 24-26 with 3.5% margin of error. The poll was conducted by automated telephone, also known as interactive voice response (IVR).

The poll comes 24 days after the $737 billion Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden after Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., negotiated the latest version of what started out as Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better social spending bill.

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The inflation reduction measure contains $437 billion in new spending on green energy, so-called “climate change mitigation,” and other leftist Democrat priorities including healthcare and drug price “reform.” The measure also includes $300 billion that is supposed to go towards reducing the massive national debt, which is now approaching $31 trillion.

The law includes a new 15 percent minimum corporate revenue book tax on earnings reported to investors of $1 billion or more, as well as funding for some 87,000 new IRS employees, many of whom are likely to be agents conducting audits of taxpayers.

Manchin is not up for reelection in the red state of West Virginia until 2024. However, “If the election were held today, Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey would beat Manchin 49.5% to 36.2%, with 9.4% choosing to support a different candidate and 4.9% unsure. Morrisey challenged Manchin for the U.S. Senate in 2018, losing by three points. Manchin received 49.6% of the vote, while Morrisey received 46.3%.”

He would also lose to another high-profile GOP candidate, 2nd District Rep. Alex Mooney, the outlet reported, citing the polling.

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“In a match-up between Manchin and Mooney, Mooney would beat Manchin 44.9% to 37.9%, with 12.2% preferring a different candidate and 4.9% unsure. Mooney defeated 1st District Rep. David McKinley, R-.W.Va., in the May Republican primary for the new northern 2nd District after West Virginia lost a congressional district,” the outlet reported.

GOP Gov. Jim Justice would also defeat Manchin 46.5% to 32% if the U.S. Senate election was held today.

Famously, Justice — elected in 2016 as a Democrat — switched to the Republican Party later in 2017.

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