Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, suggested that he would back primary challengers to two Democratic colleagues, Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona.
On Tuesday, Jan. 18, Sanders said that he thinks “there is a very good chance” that Manchin and Sinema could face challenges in their home states’ Democratic primaries, the Associated Press reported.
According to the Vermont senator, voters in Virginia and Arizona may be disappointed at Manchin and Sinema after the two did not support changing Senate rules to overcome a Republican filibuster against a major voting bill while refusing to offer their support for President Joe Biden’s social-welfare spending package.
When reporters asked if Sanders would consider supporting their primary challengers, the senator said, “Well, yeah.”
After a Democratic presidential primary bid in 2020, Sanders is still a leading progressive voice and remains popular to affect Senate primaries potentially.
However, it is unusual for a senator to suggest that he or she would be willing to campaign against colleagues from their own party.
Manchin and Sinema are not up for reelection until 2024, but they could face serious primary challengers then.
Asked about fellow Democrats urging voters not to back him in a primary, Manchin said Tuesday that he would not be bothered by a primary challenger.
“I’ve been primaried my entire life.So thatt would not be anything new for me,” he said. “I’ve never run an election I wasn’t primaried. This is West Virginia, it’s rough and tumble. We’re used to that. So bring it on.”