Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican Party will still challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia despite his help confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
“We appreciate his vote for Judge Kavanaugh,” the Kentucky senator said Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” “I think it was the right thing to do. But we’re trying to win seats.”
While McConnell said he appreciates Manchin’s support, he also pointed out that he is “still a Democrat.”
McConnell, like other Republicans, has harped on what he calls a “mob” of left-wing protesters as an issue in the wake of the Kavanaugh confirmation fight and with the midterm elections approaching. President Donald Trump made similar statements Saturday, saying at a rally in Topeka, Kansas, that “(i)n their quest for power, the radical Democrats have turned into an angry mob.”
Hailing from a state that Trump won overwhelmingly and where Kavanaugh is favored, Manchin’s reelection chances next month could get a boost from his vote for the judge. He came out in support of Kavanaugh on Friday, releasing a statement immediately after Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, another key swing vote, said in a lengthy Senate floor speech that she too would back the nominee.
In so doing, Manchin, who also voted for Trump’s first Supreme Court selection, Neil Gorsuch, became the only Senate Democrat to break ranks with his party.
Manchin’s announcement immediately made him a target of sharp criticism and highlighted the unique, and at times complicated, position the red-state Democrat occupies within his own party and in the Senate.
While recent polls have shown Manchin leading his 2018 race, an increasingly polarized political environment still makes him vulnerable.