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The tiny group of centrists lobbying Joe Manchin to change the filibuster

Rather than "liberal activists or die-hard filibuster opponents," a small trio of Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) Senate pals are leading the effort to sway the lawmaker on filibuster reform — a move to which he has long objected, particularly if done on a partisan basis.

Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Angus King (I-Maine) — three friends of Manchin's "who once shared his reluctance" when it came to altering Senate rules — have recently become the "vanguard of a delicate effort to chip away at Manchin's steadfast opposition," Politico reports.

The three centrists have reportedly met at least a dozen times with Manchin to discuss changing the filibuster so as to pass elections reform, Politico reports. "I can't say we have a solution or a resolution or a decision. But we're continuing to talk. That's the good news," said King.

The talks between the four lawmakers represent "the best chance Democrats have" to convince Manchin to change Senate rules before Majority Leader Chuck Schumer possibly holds a vote on the matter on Jan. 17. Though Manchin has insisted he won't alter the 60-vote threshold required to pass most bills, he has "entertained modest adjustments," giving his party just the "tiniest glimmer of hope" they can get him onboard.

Such alterations include eliminating a filibuster vote for simply debating bills, and altering the 60-vote threshold to a three-fifths requirement. Notably, neither of those options would "create a clear path" for the Senate to handle voting rights, the current issue of importance, per Politico.

"It's very informative," Manchin said of his meetings with the centrist trio. "They're all my friends ... they know where I'm at."

Still, Kaine, noted, "We're just not there." Read more at Politico.