McConnell Was Behind the Scenes in Manchin’s Exit of the Senate

Mitch McConnell worked for a year to make Senate Republicans’ dreams come true when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced his retirement. It’s a decision that puts Republicans on the precipice of a majority that’s eluded them for two straight election cycles.

Turtle himself flew out to West Virginia himself last fall to plead his case to former Governor Jim Justice.

Turtle said that Justice initially seemed like he had never considered it, but a few months later, Justice launched his bid, and the Turtle’s campaign spent months trying to get Trump to endorse Justice.

The Turtle camp finally won by explaining to Trump that endorsing Justice could knock Manchin out of the race — and make the Democrat more likely to run for president, siphoning votes from Biden.

“You can do the math. If we don’t lose any incumbent — and I don’t think we will — he’s No. 50. And one step closer to having a majority,” McConnell said of Justice. “I’ve been involved in a lot of recruiting over the years, some successfully, some not. But I think that’s the best recruiting job I ever did.”

Democrats will need a near-perfect performance next year to keep Republicans from regaining control of the chamber. The Senate GOP needs to pick up only one more seat — or none at all, if Trump succeeds.

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