First Challenger to Joe Manchin Announces Bid as Republicans Eye 2024 Senate Flip

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
November 15, 20222024 Elections
First Challenger to Joe Manchin Announces Bid as Republicans Eye 2024 Senate Flip
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W. Va.) speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in Charleston, W. Va., on Aug. 21, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

A congressman formally announced a challenge to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Nov. 15 as Republicans eye 2024 for a Senate flip after falling short in the midterms.

Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), who just won re-election, said he’ll take on Manchin.

“It’s been talked about a lot, but I’m going to announce. I’m announcing it right now that I’m running for the U.S. Senate,” Mooney said on the “Talkline” radio show. “I’m all in.”

Mooney, 51, was in the Maryland Senate for 12 years before moving to West Virginia. He has represented West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District since 2015. Mooney won reelection this month with 65.6 percent of the vote.

Manchin, 75, has held one of West Virginia’s two Senate seats since 2010 despite West Virginia being a red state. He’s known for being a moderate Democrat who has struggled as his party has shifted left in recent years. Manchin has been the swing vote in the 50–50 Senate.

Mooney said he’s running because Manchin has been a key supporter of a number of bills that Democrats have rammed through Congress since President Joe Biden took office.

“I think Republicans need to take the West Virginia seats in two years for the sake of the country,” he said.

NTD Photo
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, presides over a hearing on battery technology, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Sept. 22, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

In a campaign video released during the fall, Mooney noted that Manchin voted for the Inflation Reduction Act. A narrator said that Mooney “won’t let Joe Manchin and Joe Biden destroy our coal industry and devastate West Virginia.”

Manchin survived a challenge from Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia’s attorney general, in 2018. Morrisey, backed by President Donald Trump, received 271,113 votes, while Manchin drew 290,510.

Morrisey, 54, and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Democrat-turned-Republican, have been rumored 2024 candidates, but Mooney is the first to formally launch a campaign.

Republicans hoped to flip both the Senate and the House in the midterms but failed to capitalize on low approval ratings for Biden, and lost a Senate seat in Pennsylvania. The composition for the next Senate stands at 50–49 in favor of Democrats, with a race in Georgia heading to a runoff in December.

Republicans have a more favorable opportunity in 2024.

In the midterms, Republicans were defending 21 seats, and Democrats were defending 14. In 2024, Republicans will be defending just 10, and Democrats will be defending 21—including seats in red states like West Virginia, Montana, and Ohio.

In 2018, with the same slate up for grabs, Republicans flipped four seats and Democrats flipped two. That gave the GOP control of the upper chamber, but Democrats wrested it back in 2020. The split Senate is controlled by Democrats because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tiebreaking votes in her role as president of the body.

From The Epoch Times

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