Supreme Court pick shakes up West Virginia Senate race

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is holding roundtable discussions, trying to figure out whether or not constituents want him to support President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee – in a state Trump won by 42 points in 2016.

“He’s very popular in West Virginia,” Manchin said about President Trump.  “And I have not done too bad myself.”

Manchin, whose office has received roughly 2,000 e-mails addressed to an account dedicated to Supreme Court deliberations, is not the only member of his party scheduled to meet with Brett Kavanaugh, the president’s pick to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced on Tuesday he would be the second member of his party to meet with Kavanaugh.

“We’re looking at critical things that are important to West Virginia, healthcare being a big one,” Manchin said.

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2018, file photo, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talks with a staffer on Capitol Hill in Washington, after passage of a procedural vote aimed at reopening the government. Former coal executive Don Blankenship went from prison to politics after serving a one-year sentence related to the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades. His quest: To take down the man he blames for fueling public distrust of him, Democratic Manchin of West Virginia. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is holding roundtable discussions, trying to figure out whether or not constituents want him to support President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee – in a state Trump won by 42 points in 2016. “He’s very popular in West Virginia,” Manchin said about President Trump. “And I have not done too bad myself.”  (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Judicial Crisis Network is hammering Manchin with part of a new $1.5 million ad campaign, alleging that stating concerns about how Kavanaugh would rule on cases involving the Affordable Care Act is a “dishonest talking point he got from liberal Chuck Schumer.”

Manchin laughed off questions about pressure from Democratic leadership, saying, “nobody is going to whip me.”

His Republican opponent, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, agrees that arguments about health care don’t belong in discussions about Kavanaugh, because his position isn’t unique.

 “There’s no debate with respect to pre-existing conditions, people want to help those that need assistance the most,” Morrisey said.  “So he’s come up with this fake issue, this scare.”

Denise Morrisey stands next to her husband, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, as he speaks at his campaign headquarters Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Kearnesville, W.Va. (Ron Agnir/The Journal via AP)

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (above) endured a bruising GOP primary against Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and former coal baron Don Blankenship, before his match-up with Manchin.  (AP)

Morrisey endured a bruising GOP primary against Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and former coal baron Don Blankenship, before his match-up with Manchin. Blankenship this week filed to run in the primary race as a member of the Constitution Party.

Now, Morrisey is accusing West Virginia’s senior Senator of favoring deep-pocketed, out-of-state supporters over in-state voters.

“The longer Joe Manchin waits, the more it’s clear he’s only in this to appease his liberal donors,” Morrisey said. “And he’ll make it clear he’ll only stand for Judge Kavanaugh after it’s clear they have the votes.” 

Peter Doocy is currently a Washington D.C.-based correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC).  He joined the network in 2009 as a general assignment reporter based in the New York bureau.