Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was one of the rare Democrats the National Rifle Association could get behind. Now, it’s trying to get him out of office.
A new attack ad released by the NRA calls Manchin “part of the problem” when it comes to gun control in Washington and endorses his Republican opponent, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
The organization, a potent political force, had endorsed Mancin in his last election back in 2012, when he had a high rating from the group on gun rights.
“Joe Manchin is committed to protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms guaranteed to all Americans,” stated a 2012 endorsement from Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA’s Political Victory Fund, which noted that Manchin had an “A” rating from the NRA..
That was then — before Manchin became part of the Democrat establishment in Barack Obama’s second term in the White House.
Now, that “A” rating has slipped to a “D,” as the advertisement notes.
The advertisement, released on Tuesday, reminds viewers that Democrats are the party of gun control. It relies heavily on footage of President Trump, who won by a substantial margin in West Virginia in 2016.
“They want to take away your Second Amendment,” Trump can be seen saying at a rally. “You can see what’s going on.”
Manchin, the NRA maintains, is now “part of the problem.”
“Joe Manchin always voted for Obama,” Trump is shown saying. “And I like Joe, but Joe doesn’t vote for us.”
“We must elect Patrick Morrisey, we need him,” the president adds.
According to The Hill, part of the problem is that Manchin has been at the forefront among Democrats seeking to expand federal background checks with Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
While The Associated Press reported in March that Trump considered the bill the “core legislative vehicle” for gun control in the wake of the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, it’s failed repeatedly in the Senate.
This isn’t the first time that the NRA has gone after Manchin for supporting the bill, which was first introduced in 2013. At that time, the group released an advertisement pressuring the senator to honor his campaign commitments to gun rights.
Manchin was expected to be one of the more vulnerable Democrats in the upper chamber coming into the 2018 midterms: Trump had won the state over Hillary Clinton by a 69 percent to 26 percent margin in 2016 and Morrisey has been backed by the president.
However, a RealClearPolitics polling average has showed Manchin with a comfortable lead over Morrisey, currently showing him ahead by 8.4 percent.
Of the seven major polls taken in the race, only one has shown Morrisey with an advantage and four have shown Manchin with a double-digit lead.
Considering that Manchin seems to be sliding to the left on gun rights, that’s a major concern for the NRA — and it looks like the group is about to wade into the race in a major way.
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