Manchin: Energy states ‘dead’ without Landrieu

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinFormer coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE (W.Va.) pleaded Wednesday for fellow Democrat Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuCongress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ Lobbying world 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 CantwellMicrosoft embraces California law, shaking up privacy debate Senators introduce cybersecurity workforce expansion bill Boeing chief faces anger over 737 crashes at hearing 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.