MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee says no matter who wins the Republican Senate primary next month, they will be prepared to take on and beat Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in the general election.
“It makes you a better candidate overall to have competition,” Ronna McDaniel said on MetroNews “Talkline” last week. “Look at President Trump. He was one of 17 (candidates), and he came out and won the general.”
Republicans will have six candidates to choose from in the primary election to be held May 8; U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, business owner and National Guard Maj. Tom Willis, former coal miner Bo Copley and truck driver and Navy veteran Jack Newbrough.
McDaniel said the election is important to maintaining Republican control in Congress, which currently holds a 51-seat Republican majority.
“We cannot afford a (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer being a Senate Majority Leader. look at what he would do with judges,” she said. “Look at what they supported with Hillary Clinton, somebody who said that coal is dead and that we need to walk away from that industry. That’s who Chuck Schumer and Democrats supported.”
Clinton said during a CNN town hall in March 2016 the country should shift away from the coal industry, but also make sure coal miners can find new jobs in other fields.
“I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” she said. “We’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people.”
McDaniel said Trump and Republicans have accomplished significant goals in the first year of the current administration — naming the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December — but additional “partners” are needed.
“Joe Manchin has not been a partner in Washington,” she said. “He voted against historic tax cuts for the middle class. That is not what West Virginia needs in Washington.”
Trump went after Manchin during a visit last week to White Sulphur Springs.
“He talks — grabs me, I grab him, says hello, I say hello — but he votes against everything and he voted against our tax cuts,” he said. “He also voted against medical help and health care and that’s bad, and we can’t have it.”
“You’re going to have a chance to get a senator that’s going to vote our program, that’s going to help you in so many ways. And you’re not getting that help right now,” Trump added.
Jenkins and Morrisey sat next to the president on opposite sides.
While Manchin did vote against the tax law, statistics reporting website FiveThirtyEight notes the senior senator votes 60.3 percent in line with Trump’s agenda, the second highest rating among Democrats behind Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, who took office on Jan. 3.