Republicans are heavily courting West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), who just won his state's open Senate seat, according to Fox News' Chris Stirewalt. As enticement to switch parties, the GOP is reportedly offering Manchin his choice of committee assignments and maybe $1 billion in federal seed money for his pet project, turning coal into diesel. Because it was a special election, Manchin has to run again in two years. Will the GOP be able to convince him that his odds would be better with an "R" next to his name? (Watch a Fox News discussion about Manchin's position)
Manchin is in play: Judging by the response of Stirewalt's unidentified Manchin adviser, the party-switch "door is ajar," if not quite open, says Guy Benson in Townhall. To see how seriously Manchin is "flirting back," watch his votes in the lame duck session: He got backing from both labor unions and the Chamber of Commerce, and if he sides with Big Business over Big Labor, Democrats should be very worried.
"Hmm: Manchin spokesman won't rule out party switch"
He's not switching teams: Republicans can save their energy, says David Weigel in Slate. First, Manchin would have a much harder time winning a GOP primary in 2012 than the general election in a state with a voter base that skews heavily Democratic. And more than any policy, it was this kind of back-room Senate "buying off" that made voters so angry this election. Bottom line: Manchin is "not going to switch parties."
"Joe Manchin won't switch"
Check back closer to 2012: "I'll go out on a limb" and say Manchin will give Democrats about 18 months to change course before deciding, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. Then he'll "align himself with the party that promises him the brightest future." But even if he switched now, the GOP would have to flip two other Democrats for it to matter much.
"GOP wooing Manchin into party switch?"
If Manchin switches, he should resign first: Ideally, all wobbling politicians "would hold themselves to the Phil Gramm standard," says James Joyner in Outside the Beltway, and like the Texas Republican, "resign their seats and run for re-election as a member of the other party." But even in the real world, "some switches are more forgivable than others," and a Manchin flip this soon "would be unseemly at best."
"Republicans courting Manchin party switch"