- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia on Tuesday faced his first 2024 Republican challenger — Rep. Alex Mooney — as other GOP politicians in the state weigh whether to take on the moderate Democrat.

“West Virginia values, I believe, are at risk in this country, and until we take that U.S. Senate seat back and, frankly, get Manchin out of there — he’s been a chief enabler of Joe Biden,” Mr. Mooney said Tuesday in a radio interview with MetroNews “Talkline” of Charleston, West Virginia. “I know in the past he’s held back some stuff, but lately he’s been Biden’s chief enabler. Frankly, he’s a liberal Democrat. West Virginia doesn’t deserve that anymore. It has to be changed. The time is now.”

West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore told The Washington Times on Monday he also is mulling a bid against Mr. Manchin, suggesting he may soon issue an announcement of his own.

“I’m keeping all my options on the table. That is certainly one of them. … We’re going to be taking a look, and I think people are going to learn pretty soon what I’m going to end up running for,” Mr. Moore said. “I’ve known him for a very, very long time. I get along with him personally. I think he’s certainly made some mistakes that are hurting West Virginia.”

Other West Virginia Republicans considering a run include Gov. Jim Justice and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who lost to Mr. Manchin in 2018 by less than 20,000 votes.

Mr. Manchin, who is in his second term, has been a crucial swing vote in a 50-50 split Senate and helped pass President Biden’s infrastructure and inflation initiatives.

SEE ALSO: Republicans one House seat away from winning majority

“I’ve always had challengers,” Mr. Manchin told reporters at the U.S. Capitol. “I think that’s democracy, and I encourage them all. It’s going to be a very active campaign cycle.”

In ruby-red West Virginia, the primary race is expected to hinge largely on who — if anyone — can capture the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, despite some Republicans accusing him of being a drag on the party’s midterm election results elsewhere in the country. Mr. Trump won nearly 70% of the vote in West Virginia in 2020.

Mr. Mooney and Mr. Justice have received his support in the past. Mr. Justice, who was elected in 2016 as a Democrat, switched to the Republican Party at a Trump rally in 2017.

“I am looking really, really, really hard at some kind of national office. Who knows,” Mr. Justice told “Talkline” last week about running for the Senate.

Mr. Morrisey said in an open letter Tuesday that he was open to running for governor, House or Senate and asked supporters to “Keep the Faith and hold off pledging your support to any other candidate who may be making noise about one of the key races up in 2024.”

Mr. Morrisey added, “I’m ready for these new fights — and likely a new position in 2025 — because I am already leading in the arena and regularly beating back the Biden agenda. We will win any primary we enter, and more importantly, will have the enduring financial support and grassroots strength to ensure that we also prevail in November to fight for the values you and I share.”

SEE ALSO: Kevin McCarthy urges GOP lawmakers to unify behind his bid for House speaker

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide

Sponsored Stories