Manchin will face a progressive in the primary and possibly a Republican who’s already taken out one West Virginia legend…
As a Democrat representing a very conservative state, Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) reelection prospects for 2018 were always a bit shaky. But the recent announcement of two challengers just assured Manchin has a long road ahead.
On Monday, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) announced he will challenge Manchin in West Virginia, a state that went for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by more than 40 percentage points in 2016. Jenkins first ran for Congress in 2014:
Jenkins unseated 19-term Democrat Nick Rahall in West Virginia’s 3rd House District race in 2014, then won re-election in 2016. Before being elected to Congress, Jenkins was a three-term state senator, then switched from Democrat to Republican in July 2013 to face Rahall.
He released an announcement video on Monday:
On the other side of the aisle, Manchin will also face a primary challenger in the form of Paula Swearingen, a coal miner’s daughter, who claims she will not accept corporate or PAC money for her campaign.
Swearingen, who supports Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All,” confronted Manchin at a town hall meeting about the health effects coal mining has had on her family and community.
For what it’s worth, Manchin, knowing how conservative his state is, personally invited Sanders supporters to challenge him during a call with constituents in February.
In March, FiveThirtyEight published a story highlighting the risks associated with Democrats challenging Manchin in West Virginia.
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