Can the GOP Gain Senate Seats in States Trump Won? Latest from West Virginia By Phillip Howard
There are ten Democratic Senators up for reelection this midterm in states that Donald Trump won in 2016. This series analyzes the state of these races (examples here, here, & here) now that Republican challengers are in place. This piece focuses on West Virginia, where incumbent Senator Joe Manchin is defending his seat against Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey.
Morrisey, who earned a B.A. and law degree from Rutgers University, was elected state Attorney General in 2012 and reelected in 2016. He won a competitive Senate primary with 35 percent of the vote over Evan Jenkins (29 percent) and Don Blankenship (20 percent).
Health care is a prominent issue in West Virginia and one where GOP candidates find themselves on the defensive. West Virginia has the largest share of its population covered by Medicaid (nearly 1 in 3), 160,000 of whom, were eligible as a result of The Affordable Care Act (ACA). Uninsured adults in West Virigina fell from 21 percent before the ACA to 9 percent in 2015.
Simon Haedar, Assistant Professor of Political Science at West Virginia University, contends the ACA is “probably the most important piece of legislation for West Viriginians since the Great Society.”
Senator Manchin, has consistently opposed repealing the ACA, while supporting various revisions. Manchin has emphasized protecting people with preexisting conditions in attempting to contrast himself from Morrisey. Morrisey was one of many attorneys general who joined an unsuccessfull lawsuit seeking an end to the ACA.
Machin emerged relatively unscathed from the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. He was the only Democrat to vote in favor, though Susan Collins’ vote secured Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Manchin has a 9 point aggregate lead in the polls, which is higher than other Democratic Senators running for reelection in states that Donald Trump won.
Phillip Howard is a graduate student at Utica College