by Elias McMillan

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Democratic headquarters hosted an event Friday afternoon for early voters headlined by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Early voters in attendance were treated to a free lunch from Papa’s Chicken & Ribs before organizers met for a private meeting.

Manchin made the trip over to the Eastern Panhandle after spending the night before at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown for the West Virginia-Baylor football game.

He said while he enjoyed the game, it was also good to get out and meet supporters.

“That’s where you see West Virginia all in one shot, all in one place,” he said. “We had a nice tailgating event before the game and people came by and were very receptive and very appreciative and we were appreciative that they came by.”

With 11 days before the election, Manchin stressed that his campaign’s message still hasn’t changed.

“If you want to protect your healthcare, if you want to protect social security and Medicare, that’s what this is about,” he said. “You can decide. Someone who wants to fight for what you need in order to live a quality of life or basically just let you fend for yourself and we’re just not going backwards.”

Manchin also mentioned that he is looking forward to debating his opponent, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, next Thursday.

“The only thing I would say to Patrick Morrisey is, Patrick, I know its hard for you to know West Virginia since you haven’t spent much time here and you’re new to the state,” he quipped. “But if you know West Virginia, you can’t take away their healthcare.”

Polls suggest that Manchin is holding a lead in the U.S. Senate race among likely voters but he said that the only poll that will matter will be from the results on the night of November.