Jonathan Martin reports:

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) said in an interview with POLITICO Friday that he would declare his intentions about a Senate run Monday and called it “highly likely” that he would seek the seat previously held by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

A new Rasmussen poll out this morning shows Manchin leading Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito 53% to 39%. Manchin has an astounding 77% approval rating, while Obama has a 35% approval rating in the state. Can Manchin effectively keep his distance from national Democrats as the campaign wears on?

Sixty-seven percent of West Virginia voters want Obamacare repealed, and the issue could dog Manchin. Perhaps Manchin will be able to dodge the issue by taking the illogical Mark Critz position that he would have voted against Obamacare but won't repeal it. But I wouldn't count on it. Critz was aided by Democratic primary turnout, and Republicans could field a much stronger candidate in West Virginia than they did in the Pennsylvania special election.