Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary

Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats MORE (D-W.V.) says he welcomes a primary challenge from a progressive candidate backed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMillions of taxpayer dollars fueled Bernie Sanders to wealth success Robert Smith's gift to Morehouse graduates and its meaning for education, especially black colleges Democratic candidates should counter Trump's foreign policy 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 ClintonTester will endorse a 2020 candidate 'in the next week' Democratic candidates should counter Trump's foreign policy 2020 Democrats jockey over surging college costs 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 McCaskillCongress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Lobbying world Big Dem names show little interest in Senate 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 ObamaDemocratic candidates should counter Trump's foreign policy It's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose Assange hit with 17 new charges, including Espionage Act violations 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.