In race for his Senate seat, Joe Manchin endorses West Virginia Democratic Mayor Glenn Elliott

Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott speaks during the 10th Annual Wheeling Police Department Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony at Wheeling Heritage Port in Wheeling, W.Va., on May 18, 2023. Outgoing U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin endorsed the on Monday, April, 22, 2024, in the Democratic primary race for his seat representing deep-red West Virginia, where Manchin is currently the only Democrat holding statewide office. (Eric Ayres/The Intelligencer via AP)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Outgoing U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin endorsed the mayor of Wheeling on Monday in the Democratic primary race for his seat representing deep-red West Virginia, where Manchin is the only Democrat holding statewide office.

In a video released by Democrat Glenn Elliott’s campaign, Manchin described Elliott as a man with the “determination, the vigor and vitality” to do the work required in the U.S. Senate. He praised Elliott’s record of creating jobs, lowering the crime rate and revitalizing the downtown of the city of around 26,000 on the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

“Glenn will always fight for West Virginia, and will put our country and our state before the bickering and pettiness of the partisan politics of Washington, D.C.,” Manchin said.

Manchin, 76, announced late last year he would not run for reelection in 2024, saying the growing animosity between political parties in Congress is dividing the country and exacerbating its challenges.

His decision to step down hampered Democratic hopes of holding on to the coal country seat and marks the end of an era for West Virginia, which voted reliably blue for decades before flipping red and becoming one of former President Donald Trump’s most loyal states.

Elliott, a lawyer who launched his bid for the open seat in January and has served as Wheeling mayor since 2016, said he knows it will be an uphill climb for the Senate seat Manchin has occupied since 2010. To win the Democratic nomination May 14, he must edge out opponents Marine Corps veteran Zach Shrewsbury and ex-coal executive Don Blankenship.

The Democratic nominee would then face either Republican Gov. Jim Justice or U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney in the general election.

Elliott, who served as a legislative assistant to the late U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd, said he’s a Democrat because of an intrinsic identification with “the underdog,” and a belief that unions built the American middle class and separated the U.S. economy from other nations in the mid-20th century.

But Elliott said he, like Manchin, is not afraid to speak out against proposals from his party he doesn’t think are best for West Virginia.

Elliott said he supports much of what U.S. President Joe Biden has done during his administration, especially the passage of economic development spending packages like the bipartisan infrastructure bill. That legislation gave Wheeling $33 million to revamp its downtown streetscape.

Elliott said Trump’s success speaks to how frustrated West Virginians are that, “they don’t feel like Washington is listening to them — and they’re not entirely wrong.”

“This part of the country is called flyover country for a reason — people often disregard us,” Elliott said. “And I think a lot of West Virginians feel like they’ve been talked down to, ignored.”


An earlier version this report had an incorrect year for when Manchin was first elected to the Senate seat.