Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary

Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general GOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate Senate poised to confirm Trump’s attorney general pick MORE (D-W.V.) says he welcomes a primary challenge from a progressive candidate backed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 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 ClintonSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants 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 McCaskillMcCaskill: Lindsey Graham 'has lost his mind' Trey Gowdy joins Fox News as a contributor The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government 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 ObamaNBA commissioner announces Barack Obama to be involved with Basketball Africa League We need this affordable housing program now more than ever Intelligence for the days after President Trump leaves office 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.