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Joe Manchin Is Not Switching Parties, Democrat's Spokeman Says

4 years ago
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It's not happening. That's the message from Sen.-elect Joe Manchin's team in the face of rumors that West Virginia's Democratic governor is being wooed by Republicans to switch parties before he's sworn into the Senate next week.

"Joe Manchin is a life-long Democrat and he is not switching parties," said Melvin Smith, Manchin's communications director in West Virginia. "He wants to work with all sides -- Democrats and Republicans -- to move our state and nation forward. He is looking forward to going to Washington to do his part to help rebuild America."

Smith also told Politics Daily he is not aware of any direct efforts by Republicans to entice Manchin to the other side of the aisle.

His comments came in the wake of a Fox News report, sourced to an unnamed Senate aide, saying that Republicans are trying to entice the governor to join their party. The offer reportedly involved Manchin's pick of committee assignments, which could eventually open the door to a lucrative coal-to-diesel power plant that would benefit coal-heavy West Virginia.

Joe ManchinManchin was elected last week to fill the vacancy left by the death of Sen. Robert Byrd. Although the popular governor enjoys a 70 percent approval rating in the state, he found himself locked in a tight race against Republican John Raese, mostly due to the local unpopularity of President Obama, who lost West Virginia by 13 points in 2008 and now has a 69 percent disapproval rating in the Mountain State.

Related: Is Sen. Jim Webb Hinting at Party Switch?

Manchin made headlines in the weeks before the election when, in interviews with Politics Daily, he declined to endorse Obama for a second term or Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as Senate majority leader.

"Things have got to change," Manchin said when I asked him if he expects to endorse Obama for a second term. "People will have time to evaluate and make a decision over the next two years and four years."

He also distanced himself from Reid, who was in a tough race in Nevada against Sharron Angle at the time.

Now that Reid has won, Manchin will have to decide if he'll back him as the top Democrat in the Senate. He said in October that any leader has to support West Virginia's role as a coal producer to win his vote.

"This state has produced most of the energy for the East Coast," Manchin said. "We have produced the coal that's made the steel that's built the country and defended this country. We've done it all. We're willing to continue to do the heavy lifting, but if you don't understand that, don't look for my vote or support. I don't care who it is."

Reid, along with Obama, pushed this year for an energy reform bill that included a cap on carbon emissions, which would have increased costs for coal-fired power plants.

Despite Manchin's disagreements with his party's higher-ups in Washington, he said unequivocally in October that he would caucus with the Democrats in the Senate if he was elected. He also spoke repeatedly in public about his reasons for being a Democrat.

"Every time this country is in need, every time people have been hurt, every time people have been suffering," Manchin told a group of volunteers at the Democratic headquarters in Charles Town just before the election. "It's always been the Democratic Party to step in; we've always been there."

Although West Virginia remains a culturally conservative state, Democrats still outnumber Republicans there by nearly 2-to-1. And despite Raese's late surge, Manchin defeated him by 10 points.
Filed Under: The Capitolist

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114 Comments

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norm535

Poor Joe he is going to have to walk the straight and narrow. But in the end he will support Cap and Trade and Obama Care and the enter Democrat agenda. Harry Reid will make Senator Manchin his project and turn poor Joe around with a bribe that he has become famous for. The bribe will be that Cap and Trade will not pertain for West "by god" Virginia and a flight back to WV on Air Force One will be very effective in getting Senator Joe to switch. Poor Joe.

November 15 2010 at 9:10 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
tnjr

It's more then saying who you support or how you will vote, it's the party setting the agenda. So Joe Manchin says Harry Reid has to work with him, but Sen. Reid sets the agenda and if 51 Dems are against coal mining, too bad Joe, you lose. That's why the party setting the aganda is important. If West Virginians were really concerned, they would have voted in John Raese. With a Republican majority, cap and trade would be dead. 51 Dems can now vote in cap and trade and laugh at the WV coal miners and Joe's ad shooting the cap and trade bulls-eye.

November 11 2010 at 1:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rhdjessup

Joe, You shot a hole in the cap and trade bill. Now hang it, gut it, and skin it.

November 10 2010 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MIKEYWES

The coal mine owners are crooked and keep WVA in the 19th century. Any attempt to make them accountable results in political chicanery...aka Paul in Ky and the repubs in Pa (horizontal gas drilling)....anything so they can do their dirty work unfettered by any sane environmental oversight......Manchin was lucky and danced in on the middle while Raese was totally a corporate slug. The people in WVA may be poor but they are not dumb.

November 10 2010 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MIKEYWES's comment
rhdjessup

Joe Manchin was the one endorsed by the WV Coal Association, not John Raese.

November 10 2010 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
grownfolkbiz2

Americans must remember, that the very essence of a free government consists in considering elective offices as public trusts, bestowed for the, "good of the country", and "not" for the benefits of an individual or a political party's ideology... Btw, there is nothing so powerful as truth-and often nothing so strange. What most citizens actually want is, for both political parties, democrat & republican to work collectively together for the good of the nation! That's what they are elected for! And stop all these political party rivalries. If the republicans can't prove that they can accomplish what the citizens of this great nation wants, then they will kicked to the curb again in two years! You can count on it! America does not want gridlock, etc. Stop all the political hatred, etc. Work together on the nation's business! Republicans have "two" years to prove themselves in Congress! America does not belong to the Democrats or Republicans, and certainly not the Tea party movement! It's belongs to it's loyal citizens that give consent under the US Constitution to being govern! So no political party ought to be gloating over any election! The US Constitution begins with, "We the people..." Remember that!

November 10 2010 at 10:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to grownfolkbiz2's comment
merlin1246

The Tea Party is simply another name for "We The People." The vast majority of Americans are tea-partiers who believe in adherence to the U.S. Constitution and limited government. Some don't know it yet, because both the extreme left and the extreme right have done their best to demonize tea-partiers and distort their message. Eventually, the rest will know and in the next election, only those pols who pass tea party muster will be elected or re-elected. Like Dylan said, "the times they are a'changin" and our political tormentors are freakin' because they KNOW it.

November 16 2010 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LARRY LEDSOME

Now that he has been elected, let us see if he can produce on what he promised us. All of the Mountaineers are going to watch him very closely. If he cannot do what he ran on he will not get my vote the next time around.

November 10 2010 at 6:42 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
snrar

He does not need to switch parties but he will have to work along side with republicans . I see him as the type of Democrat that will and has more in common with them on important issues . We in the TEA PARTY are going to have to make some inroads back into the democrat party if we are going to make sure we get full control back away from the far left loonies now in control of the Democrat Party.

November 09 2010 at 9:33 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rochonlsu

Where is the conservative agendaa for Jobs? More tax breaks for the vert wealthy equals - Outsourcing

November 09 2010 at 9:15 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rochonlsu's comment
MIKEYWES

They do not mind if you compete with the illegials for jobs at Mc Donald or in the fields....they want the labor pool to swell and become very cheap.....we can all shop at the company store and be forever beholdin' to them....oops Valmart and the lack of middle class mortgage money....babe we be there

November 10 2010 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tnickerson08

The republicans don't need manchin; he needs the Republicans. He ran on being pro-gun, pro-life, anti cap & trade and against obamacare. He sounds like the olympia snowe of the democrat party.

November 09 2010 at 8:44 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
tnickerson08

Manchin is still a democrat but pro-gun, pro-life, against cap & trade, against obamacare (now, but supported it before?) does he really sound like a democrat? I guess he does he will say anything to get elected.

November 09 2010 at 8:41 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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