2012 Senators Targeted for Weekend Votes

December 21, 2010

By Kyle Trygstad, Roll Call

In office for just more than a month, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin skipped two decisive votes in the Senate’s lame-duck session Saturday — an immigration bill and the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — that could affect his future election prospects.

The repeal passed 65-31, while the DREAM Act granting a pathway to citizenship for illegal-immigrant children stalled. Manchin’s office said the Senator had been clear that he did not support either measure, but a prior engagement kept him from attending the weekend votes. Had he voted, Manchin would have been the lone Democrat opposing DADT repeal.

Manchin had “planned a holiday gathering over a year ago with all their children and grandchildren as they will not all be together on Christmas Day,” a spokeswoman said Saturday. “While he regrets missing the votes, it was a family obligation that he just could not break.”

However, skipping the votes brought even more attention to the Senator who, after winning a special election last month, is running again for a full term in 2012. Roll Call Politics rates his race a Tossup.

“I’m sure that most Senators, as well as the hundreds of staffers who had to come to work today, would have rather been at a Christmas Party like Joe Manchin,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh said in a statement going after one of the GOP’s top 2012 targets. “But perhaps in Joe Manchin’s world today was a win-win — not only was he able to skip work and party, but he was also able to avoid voting on two very sensitive political issues. For a Senator who has only been on the job a few weeks, Manchin’s absence today, and the apparent lack of seriousness with which he takes the job he was elected to do, speaks volumes.”

To read more, visit: http://www.rollcall.com/news/-201644-1.html?ET=rollcall:e9505:80094833a:&st=email&pos=epol

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