Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is having a blast on the campaign trail.
The senator is up with a new ad in which he literally shoots a copy of a lawsuit supported by his opponent that would gut Obamacare’s preexisting conditions coverage, a spot that looks to reinforce his West Virginia bona fides while at the same time drawing a clear policy contrast on healthcare.
Manchin, who has comfortably led West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) in most polls, uses the spot to reprise a highly effective 2010 campaign spot where he shot a copy of the Cap & Trade bill to show his independence from Washington Democrats.
“I haven’t changed. I might be a few years older, but I’ll still take on anyone who’ll mess with West Virginia,” he says in the spot after highlighting his 2010 campaign ad.
Between then and now, however, Manchin went from being one of the few Democrats endorsed by the National Rifle Association to the leader of the bipartisan efforts to tighten background check laws — and a sworn enemy of the NRA, which is up with ads attacking him.
The ad looks to inoculate him against those attacks and help Manchin keep his lead in the race.
Rural Democrats once often featured guns in their ads to show they were different from the national party. That’s become rarer this cycle as the Democratic Party has leaned much harder into calls for gun control in the wake of numerous mass shootings. But in a state that President Trump won by a landslide and many voters including Democrats own guns, it could still be a winning move, helping protect Manchin from attacks over his support of incremental gun control legislation.