IN-DEPTH: Republicans Close In on Pivotal West Virginia Senate Seat Held by Manchin

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Striving to reverse the Democrats’ 51-49 advantage in the Senate, Republicans are focusing their attention in 2024 on West Virginia.

Across the country, eyes will be cast on this mostly rural state where natural gas and coal still reign as prominent industries. The Senate race there is one of the few in 2024 considered a toss-up by The Cook Political Report. Inside Elections rates it as a “battleground,” and Sabato’s Crystal Ball says it “leans Republican.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is up for reelection. He is the only Democrat who holds statewide office in a state that has shifted from blue to robust red.

Manchin, 75, said he will announce his 2024 intentions by the end of the year. Speculation indicates he could pursue reelection or run for president as an independent or a third-party candidate.

Earlier this year, he said, “everything is on the table” regarding 2024

Last week, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice entered the Republican Senate primary, which includes Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.)

Justice, 72, has the backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the Senate Leadership Fund, which is aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Mooney, 51, received endorsements from the conservative Club for Growth PAC, Gun Owners of America, and lawmakers that included Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

Justice’s recruitment reflects the NRSC’s commitment to a greater hands-on approach to 2024 after the party’s results in the 2022 midterm elections.

“Jim Justice is a proven winner whose record of creating jobs, cutting taxes, and fighting for conservative values has made him one of the most popular governors in the country,” NRSC Chairman Steve Daines said in a statement.

Justice Enters the Race

Justice made his fortune from farming and his family’s coal mining operations. He announced his candidacy for the Senate race at his Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. He criticized President Joe Biden and spoke about abortion and gun control among other issues.

By Jeff Louderback

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