On May 8, Democratic voters in West Virginia will likely re-nominate their party’s incumbent Senator, Joe Manchin, despite a primary challenge from his left, from Paula Jean Swearengin.
Swearengin has long been an active environmentalist, for example as a spokesperson for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. As an opponent of Manchin, she has taken the position that either the state will run out of coal, or the industrial markets for coal will dry up, and that in either case West Virginia will have to have a “Plan B.” It ought to be moving away from its long running dependency on that dominant industry. She faults Manchin for failing to see or act on this point.
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In some ways this primary is a continuation of the struggle between the Sanders and the Clinton wings of the Democratic Party. Swearengin has an endorsement from Brand New Congress, a PAC founded by Zach Exley, who was a senior adviser of Sen. Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016.