Chris Christie says Joe Manchin will never be a Republican
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Sunday said he doesn’t think Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) would follow Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) in leaving the Democratic Party.
“I’ve known Joe Manchin for a long time, he was my mentor governor when I got elected in 2009. He’s never going to be a Republican in my view,” Christie said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Christie and Manchin both won election to their state’s governorships despite their respective states’ typical support for the opposite party. Manchin had served as West Virginia’s governor until he joined the upper chamber in 2010.
Christie’s comments on ABC came after Sinema, who was elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 2018, announced on Friday she was leaving the party to become an Independent.
“I think Joe Manchin is a Democrat going all the way back to his mom and dad, it’s part of who he is,” Christie said on ABC. “He’s a different kind of Democrat than the Washington Democrats today, but he also showed that six years ago he’s a very formidable candidate as a Democrat in a state that Donald Trump won by 40 points.”
Sinema and Manchin were seen as the two most moderate members of the Senate Democratic Conference, with the duo at times opposing key priorities supported by others in the party, including the elimination of the legislative filibuster.
Both senators are up for reelection in 2024, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others have accused Sinema of leaving the party to prevent a primary challenge from her left.
Sinema has pushed back on those criticisms, arguing she never fit perfectly into the party and she had not yet decided whether she would run for another term.
As opposed to Sinema’s potential reelection contest in the swing state of Arizona, Manchin would run for a third full term in a reliably conservative state, making the race one of the GOP’s prime Senate pickup opportunities in 2024.
“My guess is that Joe Manchin will just continue to be Joe Manchin,” Christie said on ABC. “And he thinks that if he wants to run for re-election that that’s going to be good enough for him to beat any Republican that we put up anyway. Depending on what the atmosphere is in 2024, we’ll see.”
As Democrats increasingly voiced frustration with Manchin upon needing his vote to pass major legislation in the evenly divided Senate, reports trickled out that Manchin was considering leaving the party.
But the senator has dismissed those reports, referring to such a suggestion as “bullshit” last year.
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