Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin endorsed GOP Sen. Susan Collins for reelection on Thursday, in a rare rebuff of partisan politics in an increasingly polarized Senate.
The moderate West Virginia senator also offered to campaign for the vulnerable Maine incumbent. It’s a boon for Collins, who Democrats likely need to beat if they hope to take the Senate majority in 2020.
“I would go up and campaign for Susan Collins. If she wanted me to, I would campaign for Susan Collins. For America to lose somebody like Susan Collins would be an absolute shame. I feel that strongly about her,” Manchin said on Thursday.
He admitted his comments will not please Democrats eager to defeat Collins.
“You think my party will be happy? No,” Manchin said in an interview with C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program that will air beginning on Friday night.
Though it’s rare for a member of one political party to endorse another, Manchin and Collins are some of the few remaining moderates left in the Senate. And Manchin fundamentally disagrees with sitting senators campaigning against each other, making his endorsement of his Maine colleague a natural extension of his efforts to work across the aisle.