Professor: Manchin could play key role in new Senate

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 5:57 PM EST
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WTAP) - A political science professor at West Virginia University tells us the results of Tuesday’s runoff Senate election in Georgia represent an opportunity for bi-partisan cooperation in the U.S. Senate.

Democratic candidates are projected winners in both runoffs, meaning there’s a 50-50 split in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans, with incoming Vice-President Kamala Harris breaking any tie votes.

It’s an opportunity, says Associate Professor John Kilwein, for West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

Manchin, who helped craft a compromise in December on a third stimulus package eventually signed into law by President Donald Trump, has built a reputation as a consensus builder in his 10 years in the Senate.

”He was making it clear that he wasn’t going to allow for some of the things that people on the left end of the Democratic party wanted,” Professor Kilwein said in a telephone interview Wednesday with WTAP, “and that he saw himself as being able to reach across the aisle. I think that’s going to be the nature of the Senate for the next two years.”

We spoke to the professor just before Wednesday’s scheduled certification of the Electoral College vote, a vote stalled by protestors.

He says the objections from some Republican Senators to that vote could eventually lead to a fracturing of the Republican party in Congress.

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