West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will officially be the third Republican challenger to Sen. Joe Manchin in 2018 when he announced his candidacy late Monday afternoon.
Congressman Evan Jenkins announced his candidacy against the Democrat in May, solidifying Republican hopes that the party can gain an additional seat in a state where President Donald Trump won with 69 percent of the vote.
Former coal miner Bo Copley also announced he planned to run for the Republican nomination.
A Political Action Committee created to support Morrisey’s bid is already paving the way for an attack on Jenkins, according to a report from the National Review. The group plans to highlight the fact that Jenkins is a newcomer to the Republican Party. He served as a Democrat in the State Senate. The congressman switched his party affiliation shortly before running for Congress in 2014 against Democratic incumbent Nick Rahall.
Jenkins raised over $368,000, and had $1 million in cash reserves before announcing in May, and Manchin had raised $566,000 in the first quarter of 2017, and goes into the race with $2.2 million in cash on hand.
Although the list of Republican challengers is growing, Manchin asserts he will be able to fight off Republicans like he fought them off in the strong Republican year of 2012.
“I love campaigning,” Manchin said with a grin on his face about a potentially tough race Monday. Manchin served as the governor of the state from 2005 through 2010 and easily won election as senator in a special election. He won 60.49 percent of the vote in the 2012 election.
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