Tom Coburn Donates Money To Joe Manchin

You don’t often see a sitting Republican donate to the re-election campaign of a sitting Democrat, but that’s what Tom Coburn has done:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says he supports Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s re-election because he believes Manchin is not beholden to short-sighted political interests.

Coburn recently gave $250 to Manchin’s re-election campaign.

“I think he votes thinking about the long-term interests of the country. We don’t agree on everything but he’s a good guy,” Coburn told The Hill.

A new fundraising report filed with the Federal Election Commission showed that Coburn donated to Manchin, who faces re-election in November, in late June.
Manchin, who was elected with 53 percent of the vote, is expected to soundly defeat Republican challenger John Raese.

Coburn’s support is an indication that Manchin could sign on to a comprehensive deficit-reduction package at the end of this year or in 2013

Coburn has been at the center of bipartisan talks with Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kent. Conrad (D-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) over a package to cut spending and raise taxes.

Manchin has said he wants to pass a major deficit-slashing bill at the end of the year, avoiding questions about whether he would vote to extend all of the Bush tax cuts or only those for families earning below $250,000.

“I’m totally for the Bowles-Simpson [plan] and will continue to work for Bowles-Simpson,” he told The Hill last month. “We need to revamp the system and I think Bowles-Simpson is the pragmatic way to do it.”

Coburn’s move was a deliberate one, only donations above $250 are required to be broken down individually on FEC reports. So, he made the donation knowing and likely intending that it become public knowledge. What it means for the future of bipartisanship in the Senate remains unclear.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Plus if the GOP were to wind up after November at 51 or more seats then a party switch by Manchin into the incoming majority would be a viable and perhaps even a probable move for him. This move by Coburn might be part of the groundwork for a recruiting pitch to that effect.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    This move by Coburn might be part of the groundwork for a recruiting pitch to that effect.

    That’s where I would put my money.

  3. Tano says:

    believes Manchin is not beholden to short-sighted political interests.

    Hmmm,, since when has the coal industry become far-sighted?

  4. al-Ameda says:

    If $250 is the price it takes to pay to get a Democratic senator to switch to the Republican Party then maybe I should consider moving to Vancouver, Canada (a wonderful city).

  5. Neil Hudelson says:


    It’s not the money, it’s the message: “You’re welcome over in our tent.”

    I wonder if this is part of the larger effort of the noncrazy wing of the party to move back towards the center–with a lot of actions that aren’t being seen by the public.

  6. CSK says:

    But Manchin’s voting record has gotten more liberal during his tenure as a senator. The American Conservative Union gives him a 15 (out of a possible 100) for 2011. In 2010, he had a 33 rating. So unless he’s veered wildly back to the right this year, it doesn’t seem that he’s moving in a Republican direction.

  7. Coburn is not more popular among movement conservatives than Manchin is among liberals. By the way, he is lots of friends among liberals(In fact, if you see the State of Union he and Obama still are friends).