Joe Manchin Says Progressives Campaigning Against Him Would Help Him 'More Than Anything'

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said that progressive candidates campaigning against him would be helpful for him regarding the Senate filibuster.

A New York Times story published Saturday about Manchin's hesitance to do away with the filibuster explains partially why he feels that it's important to allow it to be kept, especially in having Democrats hold onto power in Congress.

"I'm concerned about the House pushing an agenda that would be hard for us to maintain the majority," he told the newspaper.

Despite urging from progressive Democrats for Manchin to make changes to the filibuster, he does not feel threatened that a more progressive candidate may try to challenge him when he's up for re-election.

"What are they going to do, they going to go into West Virginia and campaign against me? Please, that would help me more than anything," Manchin said.

Manchin has been a senator for West Virginia since 2010. During his 2018 re-election campaign, he was challenged by Paula Jean Swearengin, who had supported Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential run, in the Democratic primary. He defeated Swearengin, who later ran against incumbent Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito in 2020. Swearengin lost again in 2020.

Politico reported in February that the No Excuses PAC was working on finding progressive candidates to run against Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema when they're up for re-election in 2024.

Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat, speculated to the Times that "bipartisanship" was part of Manchin's focus.

Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Manchin spoke favorably about reaching across the aisle.

"Why don't you ask people when was the last time they took time to talk to some of the people on this side, try to convince them, or work with them, just try to do," he said.

As previously reported, Manchin called on Democrats to try to compromise with Republicans more on the For the People Act, which would change the filibuster's 60-vote threshold to 51, in a statement on Thursday.

"Even though our democratic institutions have survived foreign interference and a violent attempt to enter the United States Capitol during the counting of Electoral College votes, America's declining trust in the government and each other makes it harder to solve key problems," he said. "That trust will continue to diminish unless we, as members of Congress, transcend partisanship to strengthen our democracy by protecting voting rights, implementing common-sense election security reforms, and making our campaign finance system more transparent."

Newsweek reached out to Manchin's office for comment.

Senator Joe Manchin West Virginia
Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-WV) chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, ask questions of Rep. Debra Haaland, (D-NM) President Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of the Interior, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, at the U.S. Capitol on February 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images