Randy Yohe Published

Manchin Campaign War Chest Exceeds Potential Rivals

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin in shirt sleeves.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin included a tax credit for carbon capture and storage in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Curtis Tate/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Even though he’s not yet declared, Sen. Joe Manchin’s 2024 campaign contribution totals tower over his potential Republican rivals.

In the second quarter 2023 campaign finance reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Manchin, D-W.Va., raised $1.268,705.31 million.  Republican Senate candidate Gov. Jim Justice raised just under $1 million in the second quarter. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va, raised $550.000.

Manchin reported $10,710,680.37 for year-to-date cash on hand. Mooney and Justice combined year-to-date cash on hand totals reach about $2.3 million.  

Marshall University Associate Professor of Political Science Marybeth Beller said many major Manchin contributors come from out-of-state and have maxed out at the new $6,600 contribution limit. 

Beller likens Manchin’s war chest to an organization that works to elect progressive women called Emily’s List. EMILY is an acronym for “early money is like yeast.” She said the funds act as a deterrent for any Democrat thinking about taking him on should he declare to run again for Senate.  

“I think what’s going on here is that Senator Manchin is working very, very hard to outshine any possible opposition in his party, or across the aisle by raising all of this money,” Beller said. “If anything should happen, and he fails to get the primary nomination, he can return those donations that have already come in for the general.” 

Manchin is also co-chair of the national No Labels party and touted as a possible third-party presidential candidate. Beller said Manchin has an all-options-open electoral strategy for No Labels as well.

“That strategy does not include his home state,” Beller said. “West Virginia is already counted in the solid Republican line with no chance of going for any No Labels candidate whatsoever. I don’t think there will be a viable Senate opponent should he decide to run, I’m sure there will be an opponent.” 

Beller said in analyzing the FEC numbers, there are a number of banks around West Virginia that are contributing to Manchin. She said ActBlue, which collects small democratic donor contributions and then gives them out to Democrats, could include a lot of West Virginia donors. But she said it’s telling that the big money donations come from elsewhere.

“Of all those thousands of dollars that have come in for Senator Manchin, only four individual contributors are from West Virginia,” Beller said. “It tells me that the senator is very powerful and that a lot of people are courting his votes, and that he is going to be important if he’s still in the Senate. But nobody’s willing to write him off, by any stretch.”  

Manchin has said he will make any possible campaign announcement this December.