September 24, 2022


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Several West Virginia Republicans could pose a threat to the re-election chances of Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., after he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a social spending measure last week that would drain hundreds of billions of dollars and raise hundreds of billions more in new taxes.

Last week, Manchin, after more than a year of back-and-forth negotiations with party leadership, reached an agreement on legislation that is heavily scaled back from the original $3 trillion “Build Back Better” bill. The new bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act, spends $433 billion and would raise $739 billion in revenue, according to the Democrats.

Manchin’s endorsement of the measure, which he said “Fox News Sunday” Host Bret Baier is “not raising taxes,” angering several Republican observers of state politics, as well as those now eyeing a possible challenge to Manchin in 2024, according to sources who have weighed in on developments in the state.

“The Republican bench is deep and talented in West Virginia,” Luke Thompson, a Republican political consultant, told Fox News Digital. “If Manchin continues to support this legislation, all the bipartisan goodwill he’s built up over the past two years will disappear in a flash. And all the money in the world won’t save him from an angry electorate.”

SUMER-MUNCHIN SOCIAL SPENDING AND TAXES FACE MAJOR HURDLES AS SEEK FAST PASSAGE

Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, during a hearing of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.

Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, during a hearing of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.
(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Possible GOP candidates for a challenge to Manchin in the 2024 state Senate election include Rep. Alex Mooney, RW.Va., West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore and, though unlikely, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Morrisey, who was defeated by Manchin in the 2018 state Senate race, told Fox News Digital that it is “too early” to make decisions about 2024, but did not rule out a possible rematch with Manchin.

“While it’s too early to make decisions about 2024, it’s already clear that this bill will be deeply unpopular in West Virginia, and every citizen who votes in the coming years will associate skyrocketing inflation and skyrocketing utility bills with it.” the monstrosity,” Morrisey said. “I am deeply disappointed that Senator Manchin is voting against such critical West Virginia interests.”

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey during a rally with President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Charleston, West Virginia, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey during a rally with President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Charleston, West Virginia, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.
(Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rep. Mooney, who currently represents the state’s Second Congressional District, will face Democratic candidate Barry Wendell in November in an attempt to retain his seat representing the solid red district.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Mooney, who has served in Congress since 2015, also did not rule out a run for the Senate in 2024, but insisted he is focused on his own re-election efforts this year.

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“While Donald Trump received 69 percent of the vote in West Virginia in the 2020 election, Joe Manchin voted outrageously twice to impeach him,” Mooney said. “Once again, he has sold out the people of West Virginia by supporting the liberal Biden agenda. Right now, I am focused on my re-election, but I am confident that the Republicans will win the Senate race in West Virginia in 2024.”

Another source also said in a statement to Fox News Digital that Manchin is risking a lot by aligning himself with the Democratic mainstream agenda.

“With the reconciliation deal, Manchin is tying his political brand together with Biden and Schumer — very dangerous for a West Virginia Democrat,” the source said. “It was one thing when he was making headlines for stopping the Biden agenda — that plays a role at home. But now he’s the leading defender of a Biden/Schumer bill that won’t reduce inflation, will incentivize the rich to buy Teslas and raise taxes almost everyone to do it? Disastrous.”

The same source said Moore, a former member of the West Virginia House of Representatives who has served as state treasurer since January, is “taking a short break” in West Virginia after moved to punish the banks which stopped supporting the state’s coal industry last week. “The smart money is on Moore,” the source said.

Rep. Alex Mooney, RW.Va., in December 2021.

Rep. Alex Mooney, RW.Va., in December 2021.
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty)

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Although he has not indicated whether he will seek re-election in 2024, Manchin, whose current term ends in January 2025, said in December 2021 that he is “thinking” about another run and “doesn’t rule anything out.”

“I think most people expect him to try to run for re-election, but he’s also famously mercurial,” a source told Fox News Digital, adding that Manchin could decide not to continue his service in D.C. if he “gets fed up with the place after the Republicans. take control of Congress next year.”

Despite continued chatter about growing Republican opposition to Manchin in West Virginia, Mike Puskin, a West Virginia House Democrat who also serves as chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, made it clear that Manchin has the support of Democrats in the situation.

“Nearly 60% of West Virginians approve of the job Joe Manchin is doing, and his sponsorship of the De-Inflation Act of 2022 will only improve that number,” Pushkin said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Joe Manchin enjoys broad support among Democrats, Independents, and most worryingly for the RNC and Mitch McConnell, Republicans. So there is an organized, coordinated, effort between the RNC and their propagandists to mischaracterize him this landmark legislation…”

Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.

Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.
(F. Carter Smith/Kent Nishimura)

Pushkin also said Manchin’s support for the Lower Inflation Act will be “amply rewarded” by voters in the state if he seeks re-election.

“Manchin’s leadership in reaching a fiscally responsible deal that meets the real needs in West Virginia will be amply rewarded by voters in West Virginia,” Pushkin said. “Republicans are always in favor of deficit reduction until they’re in control. Then they develop amnesia and cut taxes for their ultra-wealthy contributors without being able to pay for it.”

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“In successive elections, dating back to his successful gubernatorial campaigns, Republicans have been trying to portray Joe Manchin as some kind of Washington politician out of touch with West Virginia values,” Pushkin added. “West Virginia Democrats and West Virginia voters always see through this smokescreen and vote to re-elect him.”

Fox News did not immediately receive a response from Moore.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this article.



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