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Several West Virginia Republicans could pose a threat to the re-election chances of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., after he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a social spending measure last week that would dole out hundreds of billions of dollars and raise hundreds of billions more in new taxes.
Last week, Manchin, after more than a year of on-and-off negotiations with party leadership, came to an agreement on legislation that is largely scaled back from the initial $3 trillion-plus “Build Back Better” bill. The new bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act, spends $433 billion and would raise $739 billion in revenue, according to Democrats.
Manchin’s approval of the measure, which he told “Fox News Sunday” host Bret Baier “does not raise taxes,” has irked several Republican politics watchers in the state, as well as those who are now eyeing a potential challenge to Manchin in 2024, according to sources who have weighed developments in the state.
“The Republican bench is deep and talented in West Virginia,” Luke Thompson, a Republican political consultant, told Fox News Digital. “If Manchin goes through with supporting this legislation, all the bipartisan goodwill he’s built up over the last two years will disappear in a flash. And all the money in the world won’t save him from an irate electorate.”
Potential GOP contenders for a challenge against Manchin in the state’s 2024 Senate election include Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore, and, while unlikely, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Morrisey, who was defeated by Manchin in the state’s 2018 Senate election, told Fox News Digital that it’s “too early” to make decisions about 2024, but did not rule out a potential rematch with Manchin.
“While it’s too early to make decisions about 2024, it’s already clear this bill will be deeply unpopular in West Virginia and every citizen voting in upcoming years will connect runaway inflation and skyrocketing power bills to this monstrosity,” Morrisey said. “I’m deeply disappointed that Senator Manchin is voting against such critical West Virginia interests.”