Although he did not mention West Virginia’s Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, it was clear who Harris was targeting with his words. And Manchin was upset.
Sensing an opportunity, Collins, who had a close relationship with Manchin, invited him to dinner with Portman and Thon, the second-largest Republicans in the Senate. According to Burns and Martin, Manchin had previously rejected appeals for party switching, so Thon insisted he be an independent and coexist with Republicans.
“Thonc suggested that Manchin would be rewarded for taking such a step: you can write your own ticket, South Dakotin told him. Head a committee, we will help raise money for your campaign.” ۔
Manchin listened to them and gave a politically responsive answer to Thon.
“John, he said, if you were a leader I would do it.”
Which, good, interesting, right? Yes! Absolutely!
Which is definitely not a denial.
Joe, once again, does not deny that he told Thone that if South Dakota were Republican leaders, they would change parties!
For his part, Thoon told reporters Thursday that Manchin’s comments were “good humor” and that the West Virginia Democrats “never seriously considered” changing parties.
Now, there it is no McConnell is not a Republican Senate leader in 2023. But who knows what the future holds? And whenever the Kentucky Republicans step aside, Thun could be put in a position to go for a higher job.
If Manchin is still in the Senate, will his party’s reckoning change?
For Democrat activists who are already worried about Manchin – and for Democratic strategists who are always worried about leaving the party – their comments are few and far between. That he will always be with them.
This story has been updated with new comments from Thune.