There is no doubt that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has done a lot to stop the radical Democrat agenda during his last few years as senator, but at least one other person in his state thinks he can do better.
Republican West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said in a tweet on Thursday that he was considering challenging Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in 2024, a serious threat to Manchin in the deep red state.
I’m seriously considering running for U.S. Senate. I want continued goodness for our state. I’ll continue helping West Virginia no matter if I’m at home or in Washington, DC. #WVSen pic.twitter.com/oQs9EdxGwX
— Jim Justice (@JimJusticeWV) January 12, 2023
Justice is serving his second term as governor and cannot run again because of term limits.
Manchin has been stalwart
While replacing Manchin with Justice would be a valuable flip from Democrat to Republican, Manchin was a stalwart challenger to his own party for two years when Democrats had majorities in both houses of Congress as well as
Without him, Democrats may already be packing the Supreme Court and we would likely be trillions of dollars more in debt.
In two years, Manchin really only slipped once when he agreed to vote for the slimmed-down $400 billion Inflation Reduction Act in order to get a vote on deregulation and permitting reforms, which Democrats agreed to attach to a defense spending bill.
After Manchin voted for the ill-named Inflation Reduction Act, which does anything but reduce inflation, Democrats failed to get his legislation to a vote when climate change activists pushed back against it. Really, Manchin should have known better, but you can’t blame him for trying to work with his party to get something beneficial for his state and the country done.
Adding an “R”
Manchin was supremely helpful in reining in the worst of Democrat excesses, but having a Republican in that seat would have shifted power in the Senate and changed things even more.
In 2024, every Senate race will no doubt be brutal as both parties try to get the majority. Democrats are defending more than twice as many seats as Republicans, so the deck is stacked against them to keep their narrow majority.
In addition, it is a presidential election, which means that a 50-50 Senate could lead to a Republican majority if a Republican is elected president.
While Republicans are likely to take over the Senate, they really can’t count on anything in this confused and biased political climate.
A pivotal time
Whatever happens in West Virginia, it could have a major impact on the makeup of the Senate and which party will be able to advance its agenda.
If pundits and polls seem to give Justice a chance, he will probably welcome the opportunity to continue his political career even if the Senate loses one of its only moderate Democrats in the process.