U.S. SENATOR FOR WEST VIRGINIA
In the most straightforward of terms, Joe Manchin’s situation is a complicated one. He is a Democrat holding a historically Democratic seat - Senator Robert Byrd’s former seat - in a state that grown increasingly conservative in terms of how they elect their presidential candidates. In other words, he’s essentially stuck in a proverbial rock and a hard place.
Manchin has always been individually popular amongst West Virginia voters. However, his popularity saw ebbs and flows in-state during the Obama administration, largely due to the fact that he was a Democratic senator serving under a Democratic president, who lost the state by a 27 point margin. But now under the Trump administration, Manchin’s popularity is being impacted with Democrats nationally, due to his continued centrist tendencies. This no-win situation has likely impacted his ability to fundraise - Manchin has only fundraised $550K as of April, which forecasts potential financial problems.
Given Trump’s historically high win in the state - 68.5% to Hillary’s 26.4%, Manchin faces an uphill battle. The GOP will absolutely support a candidate who can make a play for Manchin’s seat.
What we hope to accomplish: Our hope is three-fold:
1. Providing a better understanding of Manchin’s overall legislative and voting record: While there has been significant focus on Manchin’s recent votes supporting the Trump agenda, we hope to provide a more thorough education on his previous track record of progressive bills, including the Manchin-Toomey gun bill. It was a significant piece of legislation Manchin proposed in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook, that would have required background checks on all commercial sales of guns, and Manchin managed to secure bipartisan support.
Additionally, while he is one of the more conservative members of the Senate, Manchin stands with the Democrats on key pieces of legislation including H.J. Res 69 - which was the first step in the GOP attempt to repeal ACA. He also didn’t support H.J. Res 43 - which now allows states to withhold from Planned Parenthood federal family planning under Title X. The vote was 50/50, with Pence casting the tie-breaker vote.
Though H.J. Res 43 passed, the very narrow margin indicates the importance of having a Democrat in that seat.
2. Providing an understanding of Manchin’s relationship with West Virginia: Democrats from outside of West Virginia have expressed discontent with Manchin’s recent legislative actions. But our hope is to reinforce Manchin’s track record of popularity internally in West Virginia, both as a former governor and current senator.
While serving as governor, polling from Public Policy Polling notes that Manchin had approval ratings as high as 70%. Though the numbers have dropped somewhat during his tenure as senator, Manchin has still had managed to achieve remarkably high ratings, hovering around a high of 52% at one point. Part of his popularity has been his ability to achieve bipartisan support. At one point, Public Policy Polling reports that he was able to achieve 68-19 with Democrats, but so do Republicans (52-30) and independents (54-24), per Public Policy Polling.
3. Providing a further understanding of the climate of the state, and why Manchin is the right candidate: Though Manchin’s politics don’t necessarily correlate with national Democratic politics, it’s important to note that he serves in a state that has been growing increasingly conservative in their national politics.
Because of the right-wing swing of the state, if we lost Manchin, his seat may very well go to a GOP candidate who would vote with the GOP 100% of the time.
Joe Manchin was born and raised in Farmington, West Virginia, a small coal mining town where he learned West Virginia values like hard work, fairness, and family.
His grandfather, “Papa Joe” was the town grocer, and his grandmother, “Mama Kay” was tireless in her service to those less fortunate than our family. From watching both of them, I learned compassion and responsibility.
As Governor, Manchin was proud that his administration cut taxes, reformed the workers compensation system for state workers, increased teacher pay, improved services for seniors and the poor, and dramatically decreased the state’s debt, all while producing budget surplus after budget surplus. In his six years of leading West Virginia, businesses invested more than $13 billion in our state, and he was recognized as a national leader in fiscal responsibility.
In the Senate, his top priority has been to stand up for West Virginia. He believes that the best way forward for West Virginia and for America is for Democrats and Republicans to put their political parties aside, and work together to do what’s best for the country.