GOP trying to court Senator-elect Joe Manchin to switch parties

Will he stay or will he go?

Most of the newly-elected Senators will be sworn in with the start of the 112th Congress on Jan. 3.

But those elected to fill a Senate vacancy are sworn in immediately, including West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who won election on Tuesday to replace Senator Robert Byrd who died this summer. Manchin will be sworn in on Monday.

And Republicans aren’t wasting any time trying to get him to cross the aisle.

FoxNews.com reports:

Aside from his pick of committee assignments (likely the Energy and Natural Resources Committee), Manchin might get support for one of his pet projects – a plant to convert coal to diesel fuel that has stalled under Democratic leadership in Washington.

It’s one of Manchin’s pet projects and could mean big money for the state’s coal producers.

“Republicans believe in an ‘all of the above’ approach to energy,” one top Senate aide told Power Play. “And coal-to-diesel could certainly be part of that.”

Manchin’s switch could mean Republican support for not just $1 billion in seed money for the project but also a deal, much sought in coal country, to require the armed forces to use converted coal for fuel.

Manchin got elected to fill out the remaining two years of Byrd’s term. And because he’ll be back on the ballot again in 2012, the GOP feels he is more willing to consider a party switch.

During his campaign for the Senate seat, the political climate in blue collar West Virginia soured on President Obama and his agenda. On cap and trade, Manchin once suggested that voters in West Virginia would have to go along with President Obama’s vision on it. But cap and trade become so toxic in coal country, that Joe Manchin literally shot at the legislation in his campaign commercial, saying: “I’ll take dead aim at the cap and trade bill.”

Joe Manchin is Catholic and ran on a pro-life platform for governor in 2004 and 2008. During the health care debate, however, he pledged support for the pro-abortion health care bill, saying on March 15: “I’d be for it.”

But just weeks before the election, he said that he would have voted against it. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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6 thoughts on “GOP trying to court Senator-elect Joe Manchin to switch parties

  1. Howard says:

    West Virginia is culturally conservative and not fond of Obama, but it is totally dominated by the Democratic Party. Maybe one day it will follow the South and trend more Republican, but I see no sign of it happening just now. There is nothing for Manchin to gain politically by switching to the minority party, so you can bet he won’t.

  2. paul goodchild says:

    sounds like mr manchin is like our charlie crist; say anything to get elected. do any of our elected senators and reps have any convictions of their own and the cajones to follow them?

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  4. Dad of Six says:

    “But those elected to fill a Senate vacancy are sworn in immediately, including West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who won election on Tuesday to replace Senator Robert Byrd who died this summer. Manchin will be sworn in on Monday.”

    Unless you’re Senator-elect Kirk of Illinois. Then you have to wait for the Democrat state government to get around to you.

    1. Brian C says:

      Unless I’m misunderstanding, Kirk is not filling a vacancy, as his seat has a Senator (Burris) serving out this term.

      1. Howard says:

        Carte Goodwin is likewise the interim senator for WV.

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