CHARLESTON – A day after a historic state and national election, West Virginia's soon-to-be lone Democrat in Washington brushed off rumors that he might switch parties.
After Tuesday's election results that will send Republican Shelley Moore Capito to the U.S. Senate to work with Sen. Joe Manchin and three other members of the GOP to the House of Representatives, Manchin was mentioned in national media reports as a possible target for Republicans to woo to their side of the aisle.
"Senator Manchin is a proud West Virginia Democrat and will remain one," a staffer for Manchin said in a statement to The West Virginia Record on Wednesday.
In an interview Wednesday with The Washington Post, Manchin called Tuesday's election results "a real ass-whooping."
He also vented his frustrations with President Obama and current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"Harry let us vote, let’s do something," Manchin told The Post. "It’s easier for me to go home and explain what I voted for and against than to explain why I don’t vote at all. ...
"This is a rough and tumble sport and you know what? Every member of Congress – 535 – has earned the right to make a complete fool of themselves if they want to. We just have to make sure that the American public can see who wants to get something done, who wants to be an obstructionist and who wants to be a fool."
When a reporter asked Manchin if Reid wants to do something, or is an obstructionist, or a fool, Manchin said: "I have no idea."
Manchin reiterated his Democratic allegiance to The Post.
"I’m a moderate Democrat, proud West Virginian," he said. "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."
He told The Post that Democratic losses "started at the White House, and this administration and it went all the way to leadership."
"If the Democratic Party was the majority party with a president, they should have gotten something accomplished," Manchin was quoted as saying. "But that means working with the other side. I think that people felt that the Democrats didn’t work, did not reach out, basically played politics all the way through.
"And if Republicans were responsible for obstructing and filibustering and all that, let's see if they can lead. And if Democrats have identified that as the problem, let’s make sure we don’t do the same thing."
Manchin didn't rule out leaving the Senate and returning to West Virginia to run for governor again.
"If the same old same old is going to continue to exist, then I’ll look at other options," Manchin told The Post. "Being back home can be a damn good option."