U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, fighting for re-election in West Virginia, is making headlines after saying he should have supported Donald Trump in 2016.
Manchin, supposedly a conservative Democrat, is seeking re-election after winning a special election in 2010 and a full term in 2012. But the state is Trump country and the state's attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, is seeking to unseat the Democrat.
"Manchin goes full MAGA," reads the May 6 Politico headline in which the Democratic senator said he's not ruling out supporting Trump in 2020.
“I’m with [Trump] sometimes more than other Republican senators are with him,” Manchin said.
"If Joe Manchin says that he votes with the president 50-60 percent of the time," Morrisey (pictured below) told Politico, "in my book that’s a failure."
In a poll published last month by WPAi, Morrisey was leading Manchin by two points. Yet two more polls show Manchin with double-digit leads over the GOP candidate, RealClear Politics reports.
Viewing the West Virginia race from his home state of Texas, longtime GOP activist Tom Pauken says no one should be surprised to watch Manchin attempt to latch on to Trump's popularity in West Virginia, where Trump defeated Clinton by 40 points.
"They're telling [Manchin] he better be sounding as though he's sympathetic to Trump, although he opposed Trump on about all of his votes," says Pauken. "But clearly he's in trouble in terms of the November general election and so he's making noises as though he's going to switch parties or support Trump in 2020."
The big question for West Virginia voters, says Pauken, is whether their incumbent senator is sincere or just worried about winning in November.