Joe Manchin Wields Shotgun In Dramatic New Campaign Ad

Mark WilsonGetty Images

Following on from imagery used in his 2010 campaign, West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has released a new ad — this time wielding a shotgun to take aim at a lawsuit against Obamacare reports ABC News.

In his 2010 campaign, Manchin did a similar ad, taking up his rifle and shooting at an anti-coal cap-and-trade bill as a sign that he would stand against it — even as many in his own party supported the bill. With that in mind, Manchin revived the campaign, this time putting health care in his rifle’s sights.

“I haven’t changed. I might be a few years older and I’ll still take on anyone that messes with West Virginia. Now the threat is Patrick Morrisey’s lawsuit to take away health care from people with pre-existing conditions. He is just dead wrong and that ain’t going to happen,” said Manchin in the ad.

Manchin has made it clear in this commercial that he supports the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans including Manchin’s opponent in the election, Patrick Morrisey, have threatened with repeal. Morrisey has been especially active, signing onto a lawsuit as the West Virginia attorney general.

But by pulling out his rifle in an ad again Manchin has — perhaps not so subtly — shown his support for the Second Amendment, something that ABC News says is supported by the voters of West Virginia. Support for the Second Amendment is not something commonly associated with Democratic candidates, and with an attack campaign from the National Rifle Association against him, Manchin was keen to show his support for gun owners.

Trump won West Virginia by an over 40 percent margin, claiming every county in the state and leaving Manchin vulnerable. For his part, Machin has seemingly decided to attach his campaign to the health care issue, this time in line with the federal party, drawing a clear line in the sand between him and Morrisey.

Manchin is a conservative Democrat that has enjoyed a cordial relationship with the President — something that Manchin has spoken about on the campaign trail — with Trump also admitting that he likes Manchin. That statement came at an event that may endanger the cordiality between the two — a campaign rally for Morrisey where Trump threw his support behind the Republican candidate.

Polls show the race as a tight contest, and in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, the endorsement of the President could well make the difference. This reality could be what forced Manchin to look for a new wedge issue to win over West Virginians — so he went to the well and found his gun again.