Joe Manchin is not having a great time in West Virginia right now. Democrats are mad at him for his vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, and his Trump-loving constituency seems ready to see him for what he is: a one-and-a-half term senator in a deep red state desperate to stay in power.
The solution to this political strife, Manchin has apparently reasoned, just might be sports. Specifically, Manchin wants the people of West Virginia to know that some very important people in sports like him.
In his latest campaign ad, posted online Wednesday night, big sports people Jerry West, Bob Huggins, and Nick Saban all endorse Manchin. Huggins coaches the West Virginia Mountaineers’ basketball team, a consistent presence in the NCAA Division 1 tournament. West is a former Mountaineer and NBA Hall-of-Famer who played for the Lakers and currently serves on the Executive Board for the Golden State Warriors. Saban is currently the coach of Alabama’s formidable Crimson Tide football team.
The ad is bland as hell as far as politics are concerned (like Manchin!), but sports Twitter is having a fun time with the news that Saban is a Democrat (or is supporting one, at least).
Saban says that he “grew up together” with Manchin. Saban, at 66, is only four years younger than Manchin, and their hometowns are just a few miles apart in Marion County, WV, so that’s certainly plausible.
All of these dudes are “West Virginia legends,” for lack of a better term, and Manchin is clearly hoping that their support is enough to win him back some points in the polls (he’s still up over challenger Patrick Morrisey, but not by much).