CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One political analyst says U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is likely to beat his Republican challenger, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, in this year’s Senate contest.
“I do not run into a lot of people who think that Republicans have a chance here,” said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report.
Duffy’s comments on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” come one week before Election Day across the country. Analysts say Democrats are likely to gain control of the House of Representatives, while Republicans will maintain control of the Senate. The GOP currently controls both chambers.
The Cook Political Report rates the contest between Manchin and Morrisey as “leans Democrat.” FiveThirtyEight gives Manchin a more than 88 percent chance of winning in its deluxe analysis of the race. POLITICO scores the matchup as leaning in Manchin’s favor, as does Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
“Manchin’s a known quantity. He is not new to voters. They know him, they trust him,” Duffy said. “I don’t think Morrisey has an especially good case. I think he has let Democrats define him, and I don’t know if he’s run the strongest possible campaign.”
Manchin has led Morrisey in most partisan and nonpartisan polls.
“Eight, 9 (percentage points),” Duffy said of Manchin’s lead based on the data she has reviewed. “On a good night, he’ll crack 10.”
Morrisey is looking for a boost to his campaign in the final week; President Donald Trump will hold a rally Friday at Huntington Tri-State Airport, his third such event of the general election.
“President Trump is coming back to West Virginia. President Trump was the key to turning this race around. Now, he’s coming back to help me close the deal,” Morrisey said Monday at a “Get Out the Vote” event in Charleston.
Duffy, however, said Morrisey has not made a profound argument for voters to support him.
“To even look at Morrisey’s advertising is interesting,” she noted. “He’s still rallying the base, and he should be beyond that at this point.”
Duffy said the GOP’s 51-49 control of the Senate could remain unchanged. She added recent events, such as the mailing of pipe bombs to Democrats and last weekend’s shooting in Pittsburgh, affect the races in Democrats’ favor.
“I think the path to a Democratic majority is not impossible, but extremely difficult,” she said.
“At this point, when I give Democrats every advantage, I can only get them to 50 (seats).”