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One day after meeting with a group of Democratic lawmakers from Texas on voting rights legislation, US Senator Joe Manchin – among the chief Democratic holdouts on federal legislation to expand ballot access – will travel to the state for a fundraiser with wealthy Republican donors.
The conservative Democrat from West Virginia and chair of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee was set to join a fundraiser hosted by several Texas oil and gas giants with connections to GOP officials on Friday, according to an invitation obtained by The Texas Tribune.
Senator Manchin’s office did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
An invitation viewed by The Texas Tribune encourages donors to contribute $5,800 to the senator’s reelection campaign and $5,000 to his leadership PAC.
Many of the event’s hosts are prolific GOP donors who have contributed to Donald Trump, Republican organisations and candidates in Texas and congressional campaigns.
The event follows the senator’s meeting with a contingent of Democratic lawmakers from Texas who have left the state in a last-ditch effort to block legislation that they say would undermine voting access in the state.
They are lobbying members of Congress to pass critical legislation – including the For The People Act and a revival of the Voting Rights Act – to serve as an antidote to the wave of GOP-supported voting legislation in statehouses across the US in the wake of 2020 election losses and the former president’s persistent lie that the results were “stolen” from him.
Senator Manchin does not support the For The People Act, as currently written, and he also is among Democrats who have opposed reforming filibuster rules that allow Senate Republicans to obstruct Democrats’ agenda. He has put his support behind the Voting Rights Act restoration, which GOP minority leader Mitch McConnell has also pledged to block.
Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez told The Independent that Mr Manchin was “surprised to know about some of the harsher elements” of the Texas legislation.
“So part of the meeting was informative and then the second part obviously was to ask him not just for his advice but to ask him to have Congress help us in some way shape or form,” Mr Gutierrez said.