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WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia – a major Democratic team-mate over efforts to pass federal voting rights legislation – is expected to head to Texas on Friday for a fundraiser with a host committee that includes several wealthy Republican donors.
The collection comes just a day after Manchin met with the Texas House Democrats on Capitol Hill, who are desperate for his support for congressional efforts that could prevent the state GOP from pushing to pass bills that would restrict voting rights for Texans.
Manchin is also one of two Democratic senators along with Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona who have proven to be obstacles to moving voting rights legislation through the U.S. Senate. At the center of the dead end is their opposition to removing or changing the filibuster, which requires 60 senators to lay a bill on the floor.
“We invite you to join us for a special evening in support of our friend, US Senator Joe Manchin,” according to the invitation letter, which went on to call Manchin “a longtime friend since his time as governor of West Virginia.”
The host committee includes titans from the Texas oil and gas industry – many of whom donate almost exclusively to Republicans. But there is a prominent Democrat included among the hosts: former Houston Mayor Bill White. In 2010, White was the Democratic candidate for governor.
Manchin is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the most powerful perch on Capitol Hill when it comes to oil and gas policy. He will be re-elected in 2024.
Among the hosts are oil billionaires like Jeff Hildebrand, co-founder of energy company Hilcorp, and Richard Kinder, co-founder of Kinder Morgan, an energy infrastructure company. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed Hildebrand to the University of Texas Board of Regents for a term of six years beginning in 2013.
Fundraisers take place late Friday afternoon in the River Oaks area of Houston, one of the richest neighborhoods in Texas. An invitation obtained by The Texas Tribune encouraged donors to contribute $ 5,800 to Manchin’s re-election campaign and $ 5,000 to his leadership PAC. Organizers expect more than 150 people to attend, according to a source familiar with the event.
Manchin’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
Many of the hosts are prolific donors to former GOP nominees, including former President Donald Trump, and to organizations such as the Republican Party of Texas, the Republican National Committee, state parties, GOP candidates across the country, and to Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House leadership. . Hosts have also contributed to Government Greg. Abbott, lieutenant. Reg. Dan Patrick and House President Dade Phelan.
Yet some of these donors have occasionally contributed to Democrats, who are either moderate or serve on committees overseeing the energy sector. Energy is a major driver of the Houston economy.
Some of the Democrats over the years who receive these donations include U.S. Representative Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, the West Houston congresswoman who serves on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, the former U.S. senator. Max Baucus of Montana and Mary Landrieu. of Louisiana and former U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinksi from Illinois.
“We’re pretty much just getting some people together to show our support,” said Darren Blanton, a Republican donor who planned to attend the event.
He pushed back on the notion that this is a complete Republican event.
“It’s just people who respect and support him,” he said.
Democrats flew to Washington, DC on Monday in an attempt to break the House’s quorum and prevent the GOP’s Priority Voting Act from being passed.
During their time in Washington this summer, Manchin and his staff have been receptive to the state’s Democratic legislative and congressional delegations and attended meetings with the Texans both in June and this week. Democrats from Texas, who were interviewed after a June meeting, praised Manchin for being receptive to their arguments.
They promise to stay out of Texas until the special legislative meeting ends Aug. 6, but Abbott has said he will continue to convene special sessions until the bill is passed.
Democrats have said they largely chose the nation’s capital for their downsizing so they could urge Congress to take federal action, given that Republicans have majorities in both chambers of law and are ready to push through their priorities.