Manchin: Energy states ‘dead’ without Landrieu

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThis week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos GOP plays defense on ObamaCare’s pre-existing conditions Doug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh MORE (W.Va.) pleaded Wednesday for fellow Democrat Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuLobbying world Former New Orleans mayor: It's not my 'intention' to run for president Dems grasp for way to stop Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE's (La.) reelection, saying energy-producing states would be “absolutely dead” without her.

Manchin also warned against replacing Landrieu’s leadership in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellPartisan politics at independent agency draws bipartisan rebuke Senators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Poll: Majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade MORE (D-Wash.), who he said would not be as friendly to energy producers.

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Manchin, who is also a member of the Energy panel, said that Landrieu has worked to boost the oil and natural gas industries that Louisiana depends on, but that she has also been friendly to coal, which is important to West Virginia.

She now faces a reelection fight against Republican Reps. Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness, and she’s been down in recent polling.

Manchin told reporters Wednesday that without Landrieu, Cantwell would lead Democrats on the Energy panel and be chairwoman if Democrats held the majority.

He said that Cantwell is “a very good person, a very good friend of all of ours, but very, very leaning in a different left mode,” on environmental policies.

Manchin also said Landrieu is an advocate for gun rights and an important voice to keep in the Senate on Second Amendment issues.

Republicans say that Landrieu has been ineffective since she became chairman earlier this year, because the Obama administration hasn’t approved the Keystone XL pipeline and no Environmental Protection Agency rules have been curbed.

Manchin predicted that Democrats will narrowly maintain their Senate majority.

But no matter the majority, Manchin said it’s imperative that Landrieu remain in the top Energy Committee spot.

—This story was updated at 3:31 p.m.