Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary

Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Senate Democrats to hold the floor to protest inaction on gun violence MORE (D-W.V.) says he welcomes a primary challenge from a progressive candidate backed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency 2020 candidates keep fitness on track while on the trail Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE (I-Vt.) supporters.

In an exchange with a political activist during a phone call with West Virginia voters, Manchin noted that Sanders is not a Democrat, and challenged his supporters to find a candidate to challenge him.

“What you ought to do is vote me out,” Manchin said, Politico reported. “Vote me out. I’m not changing. Find somebody else who can beat me and vote me out."

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An activist responded to that remark by asking if it was “an invitation or a threat.”

“Sure, it’s an invitation, you ought to,” Manchin quipped. “I can tell that, because we’re on different pages. Are you a Bernie Sanders guy?”

After a brief exchange, the person admitted to standing “with West Virginians who voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary, in all 55 counties where he won," according to Politico.

Sanders decisively defeated rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP struggles with retirement wave Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE in West Virginia during the state’s 2016 Democratic primary.

Manchin, a moderate who has broken with his party on several issues, is one of the ten Democrats up for reelection next year in states that President Trump won in the 2016 election.

One of Manchin’s fellow Democrats, Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Ocasio-Cortez blasts NYT editor for suggesting Tlaib, Omar aren't representative of Midwest Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (Mo.), said last week that she may face a primary challenge next year from a candidate aligning with the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party, comparing that faction to the Tea Party movement of ultra-conservative Republicans that emerged after former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama meets with Greta Thunberg: 'One of our planet's greatest advocates' Trump: Cokie Roberts 'never treated me nicely' but 'was a professional' Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE’s 2008 election.

Senate seats held by red state Democrats like Manchin and McCaskill are seen as vulnerable and highly sought after by Republicans looking to expand their majority in the upper chamber.