Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) may be the GOP’s trump card in the long-standing race to unseat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
Justice, a favorite in a hypothetical GOP Senate primary, edged out Manchin 52% to 42%, according to a poll commissioned by the Senate Leadership Fund gauging the race. He is the only Republican surveyed who tops the centrist Democrat.
RON KLAIN RECOUNTS ‘BLOWUP’ WITH MANCHIN, WHO THOUGHT ‘WE HAD VIOLATED THE DEAL’
Neither Manchin nor Justice has declared their candidacy for the hotly contested seat. Manchin has technically even left the door open to running for president in 2024, though he has given no indications that he is gearing up for that.
In a hypothetical GOP primary, Justice bests Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), who is currently the only major declared candidate, and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Justice tops both of them, garnering 53% support compared to Morrisey at 21% and Mooney at 16%, per the poll.
Justice boasted about the poll on Twitter, touting the high marks he received and further fueling speculation about his Senate ambitions.
✅”the strongest Republican candidate”
✅”Only one that would beat the incumbent”
✅”Justice strongest candidate against Manchin”
✅”Justice…near-universal name ID in West Virginia”
— Jim Justice (@JimJusticeWV) February 15, 2023
Manchin trounces Mooney, 55% to 40%, and Morrisey, 52% to 42%. He bested Morrisey in his 2018 reelection bid by roughly 3 points. Manchin is a rare breakthrough for Democrats in deep Republican terrain, with former President Donald Trump winning West Virginia by nearly 40 points in 2020.
Justice, who is term-limited and therefore cannot pursue another term as governor in 2024, has teased that he is “seriously considering running for U.S. Senate.” In 2015, he swapped his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic ahead of his gubernatorial matchup with Republican Bill Cole in 2016.
About a year later, Justice flipped back to Republican in a move lauded by Trump at the time. Manchin’s spokesman contended the senator “will win whatever race he enters.”
A centrist, Manchin quickly emerged as a linchpin vote in the previous 50-50 Senate, often rankling liberals by torpedoing multiple iterations of the “Build Back Better” social spending initiatives sought by the Biden administration. Eventually, he cut a deal with his party on the roughly $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act.
Republicans are eagerly eyeing the seat as a possible pickup. Democrats will have to defend 23 seats held by the party, including three held by Democratic-aligned independent senators, while the GOP will only have to defend 11 in the 2024 election cycle.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
The poll was conducted from Feb. 5 to 7 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. It included a sample of 609 likely registered voters and an oversample of 100 likely Republican voters.
The Senate Leadership Fund is a political action committee aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Read the full article here
Discussion about this post