Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary

Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGreen New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Manchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written MORE (D-W.V.) says he welcomes a primary challenge from a progressive candidate backed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersJam-packed primary poses a serious threat to Democrats in 2020 Treason narrative collapses; who bears responsibility? Pence hits 2020 Dems for skipping AIPAC 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."

ADVERTISEMENT

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 ClintonGraham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI Why Mueller's hedge on obstruction decision was a mistake Giuliani says news media treat Dems better than GOP 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 McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 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 ObamaJam-packed primary poses a serious threat to Democrats in 2020 Free speech: Can universities take back control? What should Democrats do next, after Mueller's report? 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.