Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

Learn more about HD Media

You’ve likely read or heard someone describe his or her relationship status with another person as: “It’s complicated.”

Likewise, lifelong Democrat Joe Manchin III is finding it complicated to be a West Virginia Democrat in the U.S. Senate.

Joe’s political views haven’t changed. They are like they always were, and like his father’s were and his father before that.

Joe is still like so many other good old-fashioned West Virginians who grew up as strong “FDR Democrats” — they revered God, John L. Lewis, and West Virginia University — but not always in that order. Their intention was to be Democrats for life. Democrats were the party of the working people, for God’s sake.

They used to be as common as that other state native, the “West Virginia brown dog” — a loyal mix of trust, friendliness, loveability and strong work ethic.

But now, being a West Virginia Democrat on the national scene is complicated. Sure, Joe and other West Virginia Democrats are the same friendly, reliable, God-fearing people they always were — but the national party has left them — literally.

But like the West Virginia brown dog, Joe maintains a sense of loyalty to his home party — even if that party moved its home to the Left Coast.

That brings us to the question of whether to endorse life-long Democrat Joe Manchin or Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey.

Morrisey is the brash, argumentative, yet successful and energetic challenger from up East. He was the one who moved to West Virginia, asserted himself, and finally unseated another life-long Democrat, five-term Attorney General Darrell McGraw, in 2012, modernizing and professionalizing what had been a friends-and-family legal operation in the state Capitol. For that, we are grateful.

As the conservative opinion page of the Wheeling News Register wrote last week:

Morrisey “has been very effective in his position, in a variety of ways. He was a recognized national leader against former President Barack Obama’s war on coal. His initiatives against drug abuse have made a difference. He took action against pharmaceutical companies that flooded our state with opiates, winning settlements totaling $47 million against them. And on issues of importance such as the Second Amendment, he has served West Virginians well. Should he choose to seek re-election in two years, voters will have many reasons to retain Morrisey as attorney general.”

And there’s the rub. Morrisey is serving West Virginia well in his current role. As for Manchin, here’s more from the Wheeling News Register:

“On the national stage, however, Manchin’s seniority and ability to build coalitions among moderate Democrats and Republicans are the kind of leadership we need in the Senate.

“On what matters, Manchin represents his fellow Mountain State residents — regardless of what anyone, Democrat or Republican, in Washington demands.

“Manchin has been a good senator for West Virginia — one we should keep by re-electing him Nov. 6.”

Albeit with some hesitation, the Daily Mail Opinion page joins the Wheeling News Register in endorsing Joe Manchin for U.S. Senate.