Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has just officially announced that he is running for the Senate seat formerly held by the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd.
Manchin is seemingly the strongest possible Democratic candidate, in a state that has been trending Republican at the federal level for some time. In both the 2004 and 2008 elections, Manchin won his gubernatorial races with 64% of the vote, while George W. Bush and John McCain carried the state by 56%-43% margins. A Rasmussen poll from a week and a half ago gave Manchin an initial lead of 53%-39% over a potential Republican candidate, Rep. Shelly Moore Capito.“I’m proud of our accomplishments, I really am. The thing I’m most proud about more than anything is bringing people together,” said Manchin. He referred to the presence of state leaders from labor and the Chamber of Commerce who were there at his announcement. “I remember five years ago we started out, we looked at each other, they said, ‘We’re all gonna have a seat at the table.’ I looked and said, ‘Not only are you gonna have a seat at the table, if you don’t show up I’m gonna come looking for you.'”
Manchin just recently worked out a compromise bill with the state legislature to hold a special election, cleaning up the state’s ambiguously written statute that could have potentially led to an appointed Senator lasting all the way through 2012. In the interim, he has appointed his former aide Carte Goodwin, who will be sworn in today. “The people of West Virginia will get the chance to elect – to elect – their United States Senator, And that’s what this is about,” said Manchin. “This is not a selection process. It’s an election process.”