Manchin denies he's considering flipping parties if Senate splits
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Centrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Bipartisan group of senators will urge Trump to reopen government for 3 weeks MORE (D-W.Va.) is strongly denying reports that he is considering switching parties if the Senate splits 50-50. 

"I’m a born-in-the wool [West Virginia] Democrat. I don’t know where they’re getting that crap from," he said, according to an Associated Press reporter. 

A spokesman told to CNN that "he is a Democrat and always will be a Democrat as long as he is in the Senate." 

The strongly worded rebuttals come after both NBC News and Fox News reported earlier Tuesday night that Manchin wouldn't commit to caucusing with Democrats if Senate splits 50-50 in 2017. 

 

The flip would have complicated Democrats increasingly uphill path to winning back the Senate majority. They need to net five seats — or four if they retain the White House — to take back control of the upper chamber.  So far they've flipped Illinois and have a led in Pennsylvania. 

Manchin is running for reelection in 2018. Democrats are expected to face a difficult map, with a handful of Democrats, including Manchin, running for reelection in red states that typically favor Republicans during an off year. 

Updated 10:50 p.m.