Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is preparing for his reelection fight as a top target for Republicans, but he says he is not affected by the pressure, CNN reports.
“I just don’t give a s–t,” Manchin told the Charleston Gazette-Mail when asked about opponent criticism.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Manchin’s Republican opponent in the 2018 Senate race, called on Manchin in a letter last week to resign his post as Senate Democratic leader, casting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as far too liberal and at odds with the West Virginia interests.
Manchin was one of three Democrats who did not sign a recent letter outlining Democratic priorities on the tax reform debate. He said in a story published by the Gazette-Mail on Sunday that he backed his fellow Democrats in principle but wanted to keep an open mind for Republican support.
“The bottom line is, if it doesn’t help West Virginia, it doesn’t make sense to me,” Manchin said. “And just because there’s an election doesn’t mean I sign on or don’t sign on.”
When the Gazette-Mail asked Manchin if his decision was about politics and the impending election, Manchin strongly rejected the assumption.
“Don’t care if I get elected,” Manchin said. “Don’t care if I get defeated. How about that?”
Being one of the most conservative Senate Democrats, Manchin is ahead of a tough reelection race in a strongly Republican state. In 2016, President Donald Trump won the state by a massive margin. Election results from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office said Trump amassed 68.6 percent of the vote in contrast to Hillary Clinton’s total of 26.5 percent.
Last week, President Donald Trump made a visit to West Virginia and met with Governor Jim Justice, who announced he was to leave the Democratic Party and shift to the Republican. In response to Manchin’s comments, Morrisey issued a statement reiterating his call for Manchin to resign his leadership role. Manchin’s office declined CNN’s request for comment Monday.