Senate is the only game for Manchin


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So, President Joe Manchin?

Or Sen. Joe Manchin, R-W.Va.?

Not that there aren’t more important matters for all of us to be tending to, but our senior senator is having a moment – of political indecision. Or so it seems.

Running for president, senator? Or back to the Senate, Joe? Going to quit the Democratic Party?

Well, “Everything’s on the table,” he told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Don’t take the bait. Hooked on making policy work for the good of the country and West Virginia, Manchin needs to win an election and the only race that he can win is a campaign for the Senate. Yes, he told Todd that he’ll figure it all out based on how he can best “support and represent the people of West Virginia.”

Well, that sounds like he’s running for something, doesn’t it?

Manchin is, in essence, the last West Virginia Democrat of any standing still in the game. Yes, there are a grand total of 12 other Democrats elected to the West Virginia statehouse – three in a 34-member Senate and 12 in the 100-member House – but they are of little consequence in these days of ruby red tidal waves washing into every corner of political life here in the Mountain State.

As such, while examining the debris of Democrat campaigns from House districts to county courthouses, while noting the records of good and honest Democratic incumbents who did not win because they lacked an R behind their name, well, the early money says Joe can’t win another statewide race. Not in this environment, folks say.

Besides, he dang near lost the last one where he edged out a pesky Patrick Morrisey by three percentage points after leading by nine points in polls just a week ahead of the vote. That was back in 2018 when Donald Trump was our president. Had that race lasted another week and had Trump – a hugely popular guy, here – made one more campaign trip to support Morrisey, Joe would have had plenty of time to go fishing.

But he won.

Narrowly.

And in the aftermath, he hasn’t been making many friends in his own party, at home or in D.C., and sees it drifting far to the left as he tries to be an anchor for the center.

I am absolutely certain his staff is tracking what Gov. Jim Justice is saying about a possible run for the Senate. And I am just as certain that Manchin thinks he can beat Rep. Alex Mooney, the only Republican – so far – to declare his intentions.

Well, I suspect he can beat Justice, too.

The governor has been Mr. Irrelevant this legislative season because the super Republican majorities in both Houses are operating quite well without his political stunts and need for attention.

And while Big Jim likes to talk about the economic rocket ship ride he has launched for this state, the record shows that education is failing miserably, that protective services for our children are paper thin, and that our prisons are hell holes, among the worst in the country. And when so much is crying our for assistance, he wants to give a generous tax cut to the richest people in the state – including himself.

This all has been on Justice’s watch and I guarantee you that Manchin’s staffers are tracking that, too.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, Manchin can beat Justice.

But all bets are off if he has to beat both Morrisey and Trump again. And he just may.

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