Senator Joe Manchin Earns a Second Republican Challenger

Today Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia’s state attorney general, will announce that he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2018, hoping to take on Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin. The race, in a state that President Trump won last year with almost 69 percent of the vote, represents one of the Republicans’ best chances for a pickup in next year’s midterm elections. Morrissey’s decision, which he will announce at 5 p.m. in Harper’s Ferry today, also sets up a high-profile GOP Senate primary battle between Morrisey and Congressman Evan Jenkins. Bo Copley, a laid-off coal miner who told Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign that miners “don’t see you as a friend,” has also announced a bid.

Source: National Review

AG Morrisey’s entry now forces a primary fight with Congressman Evan Jenkins, something Republicans would probably prefer to avoid, but it breaks a streak of poor Senatorial recruitment news as we approach the 2018 cycle. West Virginia broke overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, but incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has remained popular in-state, and has voted for nearly all of the President’s Cabinet picks and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. We have the race favoring the incumbent, but with two heavy hitters now, his local favorability will need to carry him further than it did in the 2010 special or his 2012 re-election.

Previous election results for Patrick Morrisey:

2016 WV Attorney General- defeated Doug Reynolds 52% to 42%

2012 WV Attorney General- defeated Darrell McGraw Jr 51.2% to 48.8%

Previous election results for Joe Manchin:

2012 U.S. Senate- defeated John Raese 60.6% to 36.5%

2010 U.S. Senate- defeated John Raese 53.5% to 43.4%