Republicans are offering Sen.-elect Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., his choice of committee assignments to switch parties and join the GOP caucus, according to a Fox News report. If Manchin
were to cross the aisle, he most likely would land on the Energy and Natural Resources
Committee, and could even gain support for one of his pet projects –– a coal-converting plant in West Virginia –– that has stalled under Democratic leadership in Congress.
Manchin will need to run for re-election in 2012 after winning a contentious race this year against Republican John Raese to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd. He may want to consider the offer because of President Barack Obama’s unpopularity in West Virginia and the referendum on the Obama administration's policies.
"He was elected as a Democrat and he has to go to Washington as a Democrat to try, in good faith, to make the changes in the party he campaigned on,” an adviser to Manchin told Fox News. “Now, if that doesn't work and Democrats aren't receptive, I don't know what possibilities that leaves open."
Other Democrats reportedly being wooed to caucus with the Republican Party are Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. If Manchin, Lieberman, and Nelson all switched parties, it would leave the Senate in a 50-50 deadlock.
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