Mitt Romney Appears to Back Democrat Joe Manchin, Not a Republican, in West Virginia Senate Race

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., right, and Sen. Mitt Romney, R- Utah, arrives to hear President
Al Drago, Pool via AP

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney appears to back Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin in the West Virginia U.S. Senate race over someone from his own party.

Following the news of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) filing paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate on Thursday ahead of an expected official announcement later in the day, Romney appears to support the Democrat over a Republican.

When asked if he would support Justice in the U.S. Senate election as Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC) and Shelley Moore Capito (WV) have implied they will, the Utah senator told CNN, “I won’t in any way campaign against my friend Joe Manchin. He’s a great friend, a good leader.”

Unlike Romney, Graham told CNN, “I like Joe, but I think I’d rather have a Republican who’s going to be a more reliable vote. Joe Manchin is a wonderful fellow, I think Jim Justice is a winner.” Similarly to Graham, Capito said, “This is about control of the U.S. Senate, and that’s my focus here.”

Justice filed his paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate on Thursday ahead of his expected announcement later in the day. He will be running in the highly contested — and one of the most closely watched — primaries against Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), who already announced he would be running for the seat.

Justice and Mooney will vie for the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who won the state in the 2020 presidential election by nearly 40 points.

However, Manchin, who is one of the more moderate Democrat senators and would be running for reelection in a deep red state, is keeping everyone guessing as to his next moves and leaving options open for what, if anything, he may run for, in the next election.

The incumbent senator has not yet announced his decision on if he will run for reelection to keep his seat, nor has he confirmed if he would instead run for president or even if he would run as a Democrat in the upcoming election.

The UVA Center for Politics marked West Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat as “Lean Republican” in the first set of projections for the 2024 cycle. Sabato’s Crystal Ball Managing Editor Kyle Kondik noted that starting the incumbent as an “underdog” with the “Lean Republican” rating is “fairly unusual.”

The projection further explained that this rating is partially due to Manchin’s being undecided on reelection and the state’s political landscape changing since he last ran.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.