West Virginia Senate Race Changed to 'Toss Up' on Election Eve

Manchin calls reelection campaign the 'most important election we've ever voted in'

Joe Manchin / Getty Images
November 5, 2018

Democratic incumbent senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is in the fight of his political life, as his race against Republican Patrick Morrisey was changed to "toss up" on the eve of the election.

Manchin added a dozen events leading up to Tuesday, making stops across the state from Beckley to Marlinton to Bridgeport, before concluding with a "Take Me Home" motorcycle ride at his campaign headquarters in Charleston.

RealClearPolitics changed the Senate race on Monday from "lean Democratic" to "toss up" in response to gains made by Morrisey in the polls. Manchin now has just a 5-point advantage over Morrisey going into Election Day, according to the website's average.

A poll last week had Morrisey, the state's attorney general, up two points. Disaffected Democrats flocked to see President Trump at a rally in Huntington on Friday, where the president urged West Virginians, who voted for him by more than 40 points in 2016, to vote for Morrisey.

Manchin called Tuesday's midterms the "most important election we've ever voted in" and did not sound certain of victory during a pig roast hosted by Houn' Dog's Barn and Grill in Logan, W. Va. on Saturday.

The effective retail politician greeted every supporter in and outside the event, which was attended by several hundreds.

"It's gonna be close," said one supporter on the election.

"It's tight," a Manchin volunteer agreed.

"We're coming to the end of a very active, a very aggressive campaign," Manchin said. "And there's been a lot of distortion out there. It's people that don't know who we are. They're not from West Virginia. They don't understand what we've gone through."

Manchin called his race a "tough" election and said as a Democrat, he "shouldn't even be in the ballgame."

"If you can't get people out and know the truth, we're going to be in trouble," Manchin told supporters. "These are tough elections. There's no way that [congressional candidate] Rich [Ojeda] and I shouldn't even be in the ballgame. When you look at how hard this state has flipped."

"We're dealing with basically the most important election we've ever voted in," Manchin said.