- Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has won the Senate race in West Virginia.
- President Donald Trump won the state of West Virginia in the 2016 election by more than 40 points against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
CHARLESTON, West Virginia – Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has won the Senate race in West Virginia, multiple outlets have projected.
The results cap off a long road for Morrisey, who narrowly edged out Don Blankenship, a coal baron who served prison time that could have been a potential catastrophe for Republicans in the general election.
Still, Morrisey struggled to gain footing early on in the race, due in part to Manchin’s high level of name recognition in the state and reputation for being one of the most bipartisan members of the Senate.
In the final weeks of the campaign cycle, Morrisey traversed the state with high-profile Republican names like Donald Trump Jr., Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Vice President Mike Pence, and one of the most popular figures in the state: President Donald Trump himself.
Trump won more than 68 per cent of the vote in West Virginia in the 2016 presidential election, a staggering level of support that Morrisey looked to capitalise on in his Senate bid.
“Everyone who follows the race knows I’m the conservative fire who’s going to advance the Trump jobs agenda and Joe Manchin’s a dishonest Washington liberal, who’s going to empower the impeach, obstruct, and resist circus in DC,” Morrisey told Business Insider at an October event in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
But Manchin stuck to maintaining his reputation for being a bipartisan worker willing to cross the aisle. Manchin received help on that front from his Republican colleagues in the Senate as well when Sens. Johnny Isakson, Lisa Murkowski, Marco Rubio, and Susan Collins all penned joint op-eds with him in October to tout his work on various issues.
“The people know who I am and I sure know West Virginia because I am West Virginia,” Manchin told Business Insider in October. “I think that’s the difference.”
Manchin was the only Democratic senator to vote for the embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, sparing him from visits to the state by a newly popular GOP attack dog in Sen. Lindsey Graham.
By securing re-election statewide yet again as a Democrat in one of the most conservative states in the country, Manchin has continued to defy the odds. But with Manchin staying the Senate, Republicans could still have an ally on crucial issues. Manchin votes in line with Republicans more often than not, whether it is for judicial nominees who have been a cornerstone of the White House agenda, or on the confirmation of key cabinet posts.
But Manchin is still likely to remain an unpredictable legislator, who party leaders on both sides of the aisle will look to court on different issues in the years ahead.
As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell looks to further solidify his legacy of rapidly confirming judicial nominees, Manchin’s re-election adds one more potential “yes” vote, even on highly controversial nominees.