Speed Reads

Election Day 2016

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly hasn't ruled out switching parties in a tied Senate

The Democrats just might be hitting a new speed bump in their quest to control the Senate.

MSNBC now reports that Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from the now reliably-red state of West Virginia, is not committing to remain as a Democrat in the event of a 50/50 tie in the chamber.

Under such a scenario, formal control of the Senate would be decided by a tie-breaking vote from the vice president. But if one senator were to switch parties, the other would gain a firm majority — as occurred in 2001, when Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party to become an independent allied with the Senate Democrats.

Manchin was first elected to the Senate in a 2010 special election, after having previously served for six years as governor of the state.