Politics is a fast-paced game and already moves are being made for races almost two years away.
However, Democrat West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is wishing he could travel back in time and change a couple of his past votes.
That might be the only thing that can save him from dusting off his resume and looking for a new line of work.
With one vote, Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia changed his entire political future.
He went from one of the most popular politicians in the entire country, to one of the most hated in his home state.
For the length of his political career, Democrat Joe Manchin has played the part of a centrist.
His moderate act led him to high-profile roles as Governor and U.S. Senator from West Virginia.
In fact, at one point, his apparent willingness to work across the aisle and even buck his party leadership made him one of the most popular politicians in the entire country.
However, at the end of the day, he is still a Democrat, he voted for Chuck Schumer for Majority Leader, and more often than not, votes with his party.
Manchin was made a hero by many on the Right, when he became the gum holding up the works of President Joe Biden’s disastrous spending boondoggle, the so-called, “Build Back Better” bill.
However, the Biden administration, Schumer, and even Bill Gates spent months working over Manchin, trying to get him to change his mind.
In the end, Manchin agreed to a some-what scaled-down version of “Build Back Better,” and he – along with Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema – both voted in favor of the ironically named, “Infrastructure Reduction Act.”
The irony comes from the fact most economists agree the bill actually will increase inflation, not reduce it.
And so far, inflation has continued to rise since the passing of the spending monstrosity.
As part of the deal to get his vote, West Virginia was supposed to receive a pipeline, that would have created jobs in the state.
However, the pipeline was nixed – meaning Manchin sold out his voters and didn’t even get what he was promised for his state in return.
West Virginia poll by Morning Consult
Governor Jim Justice (R) Job Approval:
Senator Joe Manchin (D) Job Approval:
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) January 17, 2023
And he’s paying a big price in his approval numbers with his constituents.
The latest polling from Morning Consultant shows Manchin underwater with his voters by 13-points.
West Virginia’s senior Senator only scored 40% approval, compared to 53% disapproval.
Having a net negative approval rating is bad, but it’s especially troubling when the disapproval is above 50%.
Manchin will have to face the voters of the Mountaineer State in 2024 if he chooses to run for another term in the Upper Chamber.
Republican Rep. Alex Mooney has already declared he will challenge Manchin for the seat in the next election cycle.
Rep. Mooney – who was endorsed by Trump in 2022 – sailed to re-election in the 2022 midterms, defeating his Democrat opponent by 31-points.
Mooney has now won four congressional races in the Mountaineer State and would be an effective challenger to Manchin.
Meanwhile, the state’s current Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is also rumored to be considering throwing his name into the race.
Morrisey challenged Manchin back in 2018, and only fell short from upsetting the incumbent by 3-points.
And West Virginia’s Governor, Democrat-turned-Republican Jim Justice, has said he’s “strongly considering” entering what could be a crowded GOP primary field in 2024.
The same Morning Consult survey also measured Justice’s approval in the state.
While Manchin scored a negative-13 rating, Gov. Justice enjoys a positive 33-point rating – 64% approve to just 31% disapprove – a full 46-points ahead of Manchin.
Rumors around the beltway persist that Manchin might follow his friend Sen. Sinema’s lead and leave the Democrat Party to register as an independent in a last-ditch effort to save his skin – but that ship may have already sailed in one of the reddest states in America.
Political Animal News will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.