Interim Sen. Carte Goodwin (D-W.Va.) has taken fewer than 20 votes in his brief time in the Senate, but state Republicans apparently see his record as one of their best arguments against Gov. Joe Manchin (D) this fall.

Top state Republicans told the Charleston Daily Mail that they plan on holding Goodwin's votes against Manchin, who appointed him last month as the interim replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D). Manchin is running in a special election this fall to fill out the remainder of the term. 

The party lost its best hope of defeating Manchin when Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) decided against challenging him this fall. Republicans have more than 10 candidates vying to get on the special-election ballot in a field led by businessman John Raese.  

But if Sen. Goodwin's votes on extending unemployment benefits and in support of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan are going to lead the Republican argument against Manchin this fall, Democrats in the state say they aren't concerned in the least about the popular governor's prospects. 

From the Daily Mail:

[State Republican Party Chair Mike] Stuart said an "overarching theme" of Republican campaigns this year is going to be accountability for "spending habits."

"I think it's ludicrous to think the governor could make an appointment to the United States Senate and disclaim all reasonability," he said.

But the Manchin campaign said attempts to tie Goodwin's votes to Manchin were "absurd."

"Individuals are entitled to their own views and opinions and certainly Sen. Goodwin is entitled to his," spokeswoman Sara Payne Scarbro said. "I think it's important to note that the governor appointed Mr. Goodwin because the governor thought he was young and dynamic and independent."

She also said the governor would likely have supported the unemployment benefit extension, if only because the vote was taken on Goodwin's first day on the job. She indicated Manchin might not have voted for it had he been in the Senate longer and had time to "fix that problem." 

Earlier this month, two state agencies were hit with subpoenas from the Department of Justice, but the investigation does not appear to be centered on Manchin or the governor's office.