Manchin endorses Elliott in Democratic U.S. Senate primary

CHARLESTON — Outgoing U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin named Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott as his appropriate replacement in the U.S. Senate, endorsing him over his two Democratic primary challengers.

The Elliott campaign posted a video message from Manchin, D-W.Va., Monday morning on its campaign Facebook page making the endorsement announcement. The message was recorded for the Elliott campaign last week.

“I’m proud to endorse Glenn Elliott for the May Democratic primary nomination for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “I know he has the determination, the vigor, and the vitality to do the work required to be successful in the U.S. Senate here in Washington D.C.”

Manchin announced his retirement last year from the U.S. Senate effective at the end of 2024 after winning a special election for U.S. Senate following the death of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd in 2010. Manchin went on to win two full six-year terms in 2012 and 2018.

Elliott was first elected as mayor of Wheeling in 2016 and is in his second term and final term. After working as a former legislative assistant for Byrd and for a large law firm, Elliott returned to Wheeling as an attorney and businessman.

“Glenn has a proven track record of success as mayor of Wheeling,” Manchin said. “He’s helped to revitalize downtown, create jobs, and lower the crime rate. He will be a U.S. Senator that all West Virginians can be proud of.”

In a statement Monday, Elliott said he reached out to Manchin about running for the Senate after Manchin announced his retirement. Elliott made his official candidacy announcement in January.

“I am deeply honored to receive Senator Manchin’s endorsement,” Elliott said. “His support means a great deal to me, and I am grateful for his guidance and encouragement throughout this process. Together, we will build a brighter future for West Virginia.”

Speaking in greater detail Monday morning with The Intelligencer, Elliott elaborated on Manchin’s endorsement, praising him for his service to the state as a state lawmaker, secretary of state, governor, and U.S. Senator.

“In the last 25 years, is there anyone who’s had more of an impact on West Virginia political affairs than Sen. Manchin? He’s been governor, he’s been senator. He is a household name across the country,” Elliott said. “I think he’s been a force for trying to find bipartisan compromise in the Senate. And so, it means a lot to me to have him see in me someone who could step into the seat and continue trying to advocate for the state and bring people together.”

Manchin recently traveled to Wheeling to tour Ohio River flooding with Elliott, pledging federal resources to the Ohio Valley to help with recovery and clean-up. Elliott said Manchin’s office has done a lot for Wheeling when it comes to infrastructure funding, economic development, and other federal resources.

“I’ve had a chance to work with him as mayor now for almost eight years. He and his team have been great to work with,” Elliott said. “They follow up and now that (congressionally directed spending is) back in the equation, they’ve been great, and they’ve delivered for Wheeling and a lot of places in West Virginia.”

“I’ve seen what the Senate seat can do from what I worked for (Sen. Robert C.) Byrd 30 years ago, and Sen. Manchin has really taken that mantle and run with it,” Elliott continued. “And I think he’s been a very effective Senator for bringing resources back to the state.”

During a Sunday interview on CNN alongside former Republican Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, Manchin said the U.S. voting public should be “ashamed” of the current state of Congress. Manchin said in his Monday endorsement that Elliott’s election to the U.S. Senate would be a step in the right direction on Capitol Hill.

“He’ll show up every day to fight for West Virginia, to create jobs, grow the economy, and make a better life for our people,” Manchin said. “Glenn will always fight for West Virginia, and will put our country and our state before the bickering and pettiness of partisan politics of Washington D.C.”

Manchin’s U.S. Senate seat is the last elected statewide office in West Virginia still in the Democratic Party’s hands as the state has shifted to a solid red state. The winner of the Democratic Senate primary could face one of several Republicans, including Gov. Jim Justice or U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va.

Elliott faces Princeton-based community organizer Zachary Shrewsbury; and former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, a former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018 who came in third place that year.

According to first quarter fundraising reports filed last week with the Federal Election Commission, Elliott raised $110,206 since entering the race in January, leaving him with $81,148 in cash-on-hand. The Elliott campaign also received a $5,000 donation in March from Country Roads PAC, a political action committee affiliated with Manchin.

Shrewsbury raised $113,559 during the quarter and $185,816 election cycle-to-date, leaving him with $50,959 in cash-on-hand. Blankenship raised $1,000 for the quarter and $1,100 election cycle-to-date solely from contributions from himself, leaving him with $1,085 in cash-on-hand.

Blankenship spent one year in prison following his conviction in 2016 of a misdemeanor for violating federal mine safety standards in connection to the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 miners. In a statement included in Elliott’s Monday press release announcing the endorsement, Manchin said that Elliott had the best character of the three candidates in the Democratic primary.

“The character of the candidate we choose in the Democratic primary is crucial for achieving the results West Virginians need in Washington,” Manchin said. “Character is one of the most important factors for our state’s success.”

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register Managing Editor Derek Redd contributed to this story.


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