Senate Dems Couldn’t Lose Manchin

He’s the party’s last hold on West Virginia.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined at right by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., emerge from the Senate chamber just after a procedural vote aimed at reopening the government, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. Manchin, a centrist Democrat from a heavily Republican state, later met with President Donald Trump to discuss immigration.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Kyle Trygstad
Jan. 24, 2018, 9:15 a.m.

Sen. Joe Manchin’s 11th hour confirmation that he will seek reelection this year keeps Democrats within reach of the majority and gives the party a fighting chance to keep its grip on at least one seat in West Virginia’s congressional delegation.

The Mountain State provides an example about as stark as possible of the shifting political attitudes in Appalachia during President Obama’s eight years in office. Obama lost the state in 2008 by 13 points, 56 percent to 43 percent. That margin doubled four years later and more than tripled in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to President Trump.

Democrats held four of the state’s five House and Senate seats heading into the 2010 elections, with Shelley Moore Capito the lone Republican. Manchin has been the only Democrat since the 2014 elections, and without him the seat would surely have flipped in November.

Along with Missouri and North Dakota, these states don’t look like many of the others that have Democratic senators. But they’re just as vital to the short- and long-term success of the party, as are the incumbents running for reelection there.

Kyle Trygstad


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