Republicans want Manchin to bow out, fearful that he may have one more trick up his sleeve


WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Republicans’ best option for unseating Sen. Joe Manchin: Pray that he retires first.

The longtime West Virginia Democrat might be the most endangered member of his party heading into 2024. But Republicans still see the contest against him as treacherous. Manchin is a West Virginia institution who has repeatedly defied the odds in a deep-red state.

A GOP group tied to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell launched a $2 million ad campaign bashing Manchin a year and a half before the election. National Republican leaders, who have no interest in leaving any room for error in their efforts to retake the Senate, have recruited popular Gov. Jim Justice to run for Manchin’s seat. And Justice, who has shared a political network with the senator, has said it’s unlikely Manchin will run for reelection now that he’s in the race. National GOP leaders hope so — or are privately wishing his flirtations with a centrist presidential run turn into a full-fledged campaign.