Sen. Joe Manchin (D) making comments that he might run for Governor in 2020 has GOP leaders watching with interest. Should he run and defeat GOP Gov. Jim Justice, a special election would be called to fill the balance of Manchin’s Senate term as opposed to the Governor filling the vacant seat via appointment. The law does allow a short-term appointment until the special is held, but the election would quickly follow the vacancy becoming official and would be conducted in mid-2021. Republicans would be favored in an open Senate special election without Mr. Manchin on the ballot.
It is clear that a Justice-Manchin gubernatorial race would be close. Mr. Manchin just won a 49-46% re-election victory in November over Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), yet it is obvious that challenging an incumbent would make Manchin’s road tougher. As we remember, Mr. Justice was not elected as a Republican but changed parties in 2017 after winning the position months earlier as a Democrat. Therefore, Manchin would likely enjoy a unified Democratic Party, with some Republican voters still wary of Gov. Justice.
The Rundown Blog
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