Manchin keeps Senate seat in West Virginia

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinHillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic MORE (D-W.Va.) won reelection on Tuesday night, rebuffing his state’s growing shift to the right.

Manchin defeated West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), two years after President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE won the state by more than 42 percentage points.

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The president’s huge margin of victory made Manchin, the last Democrat in the state’s five-person congressional delegation, a top target for Republicans heading into 2018.

Manchin took aim at Trump during his victory speech on Tuesday night, saying the country had to stop the "toxic rhetoric" and Trump needed to be "president of the United States, not the divided states."

"I never expected this race to be the national race it turned out to be. I never expected President Trump to come to the state as much as he did. ..[But] you stood stall. ...What West Virginia said loud and clear tonight is 'Mr. President we want our senator not your senator,'" Manchin told supporters, who repeatedly interrupted him with chants of "Joe! Joe! Joe!"

While the race remained competitive, Morrisey failed to close the gap with Manchin, who maintained a mid-to-high single-digit lead in the polls for weeks. The consistent lead led to handicappers rating the West Virginia seat as “lean Democrat,” even as other vulnerable incumbents from states that Trump won by a smaller margin remained locked in down-to-the-wire toss-up fights.

Strategists in both parties credit Manchin as a gifted retail politician who has been bolstered by his long ties to West Virginia and virtually 100 percent name recognition in the state, where he served as governor before running for the Senate. He played up his deep connections during his first, and only, debate against Morrisey, who is from New Jersey, earlier this month.

Republicans had hoped that the state’s rightward shift and Trump’s approval in the state would be enough to unseat Manchin.

Morrisey has aligned himself closely with Trump, holding a rally in the state on Friday with the president and another event Monday with Donald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpTrump pledges to look at 'both sides' on Pebble Mine Twitter limits Donald Trump Jr.'s account after sharing coronavirus disinformation South Dakota governor flew with Trump on Air Force One after being exposed to coronavirus: report MORE and Kimberly Guilfoyle as part of his “Stand with Trump” tour.

Morrisey, during the debate earlier this month, called himself a “conservative fighter” for the president and tried to tie Manchin to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBlumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Hillary Clinton touts student suspended over crowded hallway photo: 'John Lewis would be proud' MORE, name dropping the Democratic presidential nominee nearly 30 times in less than an hour.

But Republicans appeared to be reading the tea leaves ahead of Tuesday night’s election, with the Senate Leadership Fund, a group closely aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.), telling The Washington Post that it wouldn’t air ads supporting Morrisey during the final week.

-- Updated 9:56 p.m.