Manchin Keeps West Virginia Senate Seat - NBC4 Washington
Decision 2018

Decision 2018

The latest news on local, state and national midterm elections

Manchin Keeps West Virginia Senate Seat

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    NEWSLETTERS

    West Virginia Senate Race Could Swing Balance of Power

    The balance of power could hinge on the U.S. Senate race in West Virginia, in which incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin faces Republican Patrick Morrisey. News4's Scott MacFarlane reports from Jefferson County in the Eastern Panhandle, where both candidates focused their final campaign push. (Published Monday, Nov. 5, 2018)

    Sen. Joe Manchin has won a second term in West Virginia, preserving a Democractic Senate seat coveted by Republicans.

    Manchin won the pivotal race in a state that supported President Donald Trump by a whopping 42 percentage points in 2016.

    With 94 percent of precincts reporting just after midnight Wednesday, Manchin had won 50 percent of the vote to Morrisey's 46 percent and Libertarian Rusty Hollen's 4 percent.

    Manchin made maintaining health care protections for pre-existing conditions a major focus of his campaign and criticized opponoent Patrick Morrisey for joining a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Morrisey, a staunch Trump supporter, calls Manchin a liberal who only acts bipartisan around Election Day.

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    The political storm clouds hover in communities like Berkeley Springs, where inside the Gat Creek furniture factory, owner Gat Caperton says his workers were divided over whether to back Manchin or Morrisey.

    "He thinks his own way, he votes his own way. He's an independent guy," Caperton said of Manchin.

    To make life less stressful he turned his factory into a no-politics zone. Campaign talk is kept at a minimum.

    "For the most part it's much easier that way," Caperton said.

    At a phone bank for Morrisey, it's all political talk. Republican volunteers on Monday made their final pitch.

    "I have 15 great grandchildren and the values of this state and race reflect on them," Betty DeHaven said.

    Volunteers for both campaigns spread across the state's Eastern Panhandle looking for whatever undecided voters remained.

    President Trump campaigned for Morrisey, telling the crowd cheering him from inside a hangar that "Joe will never be with us. He's never going to vote for us."

    But Trump didn't present a complete picture of Manchin's voting record.

    On major issues, Manchin did join Democrats in voting against the tax cuts, but he broke with his caucus and supported both of Trump's Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

    Manchin insisted over and over that his vote wasn't based on politics.

    There is little doubt, however, that his vote was in line with the wishes of many West Virginia voters. There simply aren't enough Democrats in the state to re-elect Manchin. He needs a significant chunk of Trump's base to win.

    Manchin has questioned Morrisey's past ties in Washington as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, since West Virginia leads the nation in the rate of drug overdose deaths.

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