Kyle Trygstad reports:

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is running to become the state's next senator, he announced this morning. The news came just hours after Manchin signed a bill late last night that created an Aug. 28 primary and Nov. 2 general election to fill the remaining two years of the late Robert Byrd's Senate term. The announcement came at a news conference at the state Capitol, where Manchin signed his candidacy papers. Many expect Manchin's Republican opponent to be Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a five-term congresswoman who, thanks to a provision in the state legislature's bill, will be able to run for the Senate seat as well as for re-election to her House seat. The move makes Capito's Senate bid all the more likely, as she can continue serving in the House even if she loses the Senate race.

As noted here last week, two-thirds of West Virginians want to repeal Obamacare but Manchin said he'd vote for Obamacare just days before the final vote came in Congress. Republicans are highlighting more quotes from Manchin supporting Obamacare and praising President Obama (who has a 34% approval rating in the state):

·         February 2010: “Gov. Joe Manchin Emerged Monday From A Meeting With President Barack Obama Prepared To Help Shoulder The Costs Of An Overhaul Of The Nation’s Health Care System. Manchin Continues To Back The Health Care Reform And Has Promised To Help Find A Way To Pay For It, Already Suggesting An Increase In The State Cigarette Tax.” (“Manchin Still Backing Health Care Bill,” The Charleston [WV] Daily Mail, 2/23/10)  

February 2010: Although The “State’s Burden Of The Medicaid Expansion Could Be Tens Of Millions Of Dollars Each Year,” Manchin Said It Was “Doable.” “The state’s burden of the Medicaid expansion could be tens of millions of dollars each year, depending on how much money the federal government puts in. Either way, Manchin said, ‘I think there’s a way that this is doable.’” (“Manchin Still Backing Health Care Bill,” The Charleston [WV] Daily Mail, 2/23/10)  

April 2010: Manchin’s Spokesman Reiterated That Manchin Supports The President’s Health Care Spending Bill. “‘The Department of Health and Human Resources is currently evaluating the federal health care law, especially as it relates to Medicaid expansion for West Virginia,’ agency spokeswoman Marsha Dadisman wrote in an email. ‘. . . The department will most likely release a statement to the media when we’ve completed our evaluation.’ That uncertainty leaves state officials in the awkward position of needing to budget ahead for what could be a major expense without knowing how much that expense will be. Still, Matt Turner, spokesman for Gov. Joe Manchin, said the governor supported the legislation.” (Walt Williams, “Health Care Reform Has Unknown Costs For State,” The State [WV] Journal, 4/2/10)