June 26, 2017

Primary Challenger Attacks Manchin’s Lack Of Leadership For West Virginia

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is a millionaire who lives on a house boat when he’s in Washington, D.C. Manchin’s lifestyle isn’t the only way he’s out of touch. too. Last quarter, voters learned that Manchin has very little political support in the state, with only five donors giving to his Senate campaign from West Virginia:

“According to data from his recent Federal Election Commission filing, five West Virginians have donated a total of $7,900 to Manchin’s Senate campaign for the first quarter of 2018.

Manchin’s riches and complete lack of campaign donations from West Virginia leave him vulnerable to the charge that he’s not in touch with the problems of his state. One candidate who will look to take advantage of that is Manchin’s Democratic primary challenger Paula Jean Swearengin. Critically, Swearengin comes from a family of West Virginia coal miners:

“Swearengin — whose grandfather, father, stepfather and uncle were coal miners — said coal mining has been damaging to her family and communities across the state. ‘I’ve seen the regression, the boom and bust,’ she said. ‘I’ve buried a lot of my family members because of coal. If they are still around, they are suffering from black lung.’”

Swearengin’s credentials allow her to credibly make the case that Manchin is out of touch. During her primary campaign, she’s not been shy about saying the problems people face in her state have fallen on Manchin’s “deaf ears”:

“‘It’s gone on deaf ears,’ she said. ‘We’ve had community support, but we haven’t had any support from our leadership.’ One of those political leaders is Sen. Joe Manchin, who Swearengin is challenging for the Democratic nomination. ‘He’s made it clear that he serves the coal industry and not coal miners and their communities,’ she said. ‘It’s obvious that our leaders are not going to do anything and when coal is gone, we really don’t have a plan ‘B.’ We deserve a diverse and equal and fair economic infrastructure.’”

Swearengin has also picked up the support of a new group, Brand New Congress, formed by Bernie Sanders’ former staffers and supporters. Manchin infamously endorsed and voted for Hillary Clinton, a candidate who bragged about her plans to put coal miners out of business. West Virginia’s Democratic primary went for Bernie last year, and now with Manchin’s fundraising struggles this year he’s going to have a strong fight to prevent that same result from happening again.