Manchin endorses Wheeling mayor to replace him in Senate

Manchin endorses Wheeling mayor to replace him in Senate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) endorsed a Democratic mayor to replace him in his Senate seat, which Republicans see as the top pickup opportunity for this year.

Manchin threw his support behind Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott (D) on Monday, saying in a video that Elliott posted on his account on social platform X that he is “proud” to support his candidacy because Elliott has “the determination, the vigor and vitality” to be successful as a senator.

“He’ll show up every day to fight for West Virginia, to create jobs, grow our economy and make a better life for our people,” Manchin said of Elliott. “Glenn will always fight for West Virginia and will put our country and our state before the bickering and pettiness of the partisan politics of Washington, D.C.”

Manchin, who is one of the most moderate members of the Democratic Party serving in the Senate, announced in November that he would not seek reelection for another six-year term in office. He has served in his seat since 2010, and has been reelected twice, as a Democratic senator in a solidly red state.

Even if Manchin were to have run, his seat would likely have been the most vulnerable one for Democrats with a Senate map that gives Republicans many more pickup opportunities than Democrats. Without the incumbent Manchin, who also previously served as governor of the state, the Senate race is seen as even more likely to be a Republican gain in November.

Elliott said in the Monday post that he called Manchin shortly after the senator’s announcement of his retirement about possibly running for Senate.

“He was incredibly generous with his time during that call. He made clear that he thought the race was far more winnable than the D.C. pundits were projecting. And he encouraged me to put my name on the ballot,” Elliott said of Manchin. “Nearly five months later, no single conversation is more responsible for my Senate candidacy than that one.”

Elliott is facing former coal company CEO Don Blankenship, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the seat in 2018, and Marine Corps veteran Zach Shrewsbury for the Democratic nomination.

In the Republican primary, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) is the front-runner for the nomination after having been elected to two terms leading the state. His most significant opponent is Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), though polls have shown Justice with a significant lead.

The primaries will be held May 14.

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