Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is likely the only Democrat able to win in a state-wide election in heavily conservative West Virginia. CNN calls Manchin “the most endangered Democratic incumbent.”
Manchin served in the state legislature for 14 years, was the WV secretary of state, and later elected governor. His popularity as a two-term governor helped him win the 2010 special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by incumbent Democrat Robert Byrd’s death with 53% of the vote; in 2012 he was elected to a full term with 61% of the vote.
Manchin entered West Virginia University on a football scholarship and graduated with a degree in business administration. He became involved in several family-owned businesses before launching his political career.
Manchin is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Manchin has a $9.5 million war chest, which he will need since GOP hopefuls started lining up early to explore a challenge. Will they revive a charge aimed at him when he first ran in 2010 when his opponent said Manchin “backed Obamacare and the far left?
ON THE ISSUES
- Manchin has been a tough customer for Democrats, but he has also cast key votes. He provided the crucial 50th affirmative vote to approve the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Manchin also voted for the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the Respect for Marriage Act, as well as has consistently supported aiding Ukraine.
- Education is an issue that Manchin champions, saying higher education is a key to unlocking opportunities. Talk about politics making strange bedfellows: Manchin worked with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, to urge the Education Department to increase funds for the TRIO program, which helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Manchin also supports widening access to broadband, saying that “…it’s essential that businesses, entrepreneurs, and students are connected to the world and have the tools they need to compete in the global economy.”