Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Angus King (I-ME) have decided to remain with the Democrats in the Senate. Both are considered moderates and were courted by Republicans for several months. Both of their respective states also either re-elected or elected a Republican Senator on Election Day.
Sen. King had been open to switching his affiliation before. He has said that he will caucus with whoever provides the bigger benefit for Maine. King has said that he may affiliate with whomever held the Senate majority. However, King announced that he would stick with the Democrats because he felt it would help for Maine to be represented in the caucus meetings of both parties. King announced his decision in a press conference at 3:30 PM ET yesterday.
Many analysts have said that King went with the Republicans, moderate Joe Manchin would as well. Manchin has been openly critical of Democratic leadership and has said that he is open to returning to West Virginia to run for governor again in 2016. However, Manchin has earned a reputation as a bipartisan deal maker, albeit a frustrated one. As opposed to Manchin who simply said, “I’m a moderate Democrat, proud West Virginian. If you don’t have moderates on both sides and if you don’t have moderates on both sides, you don’t get anything done.”
Republicans were hoping to add a cushion to their majority and also be able to switch control if Election Night had produced a 50-50 lead.