Too good to check: WV Dem governor aiming to replace Byrd under investigation by feds?

You’ve got to be kidding. In a year where strong Democratic candidates are hard to come by and a red wave is breaking across this country, this guy’s rocking a 71 percent approval rating and leads his Republican opponent by 16 points. And now, suddenly, not only is he going to toss some fuel on the ethics fire that Rangel and Waters started, but he might take enough of a hit to make this otherwise safe seat competitive.

No wonder The One is suddenly making nice with Mitch McConnell.

Gov. Joe Manchin‘s office confirmed today that state government officials have been contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office this week regarding an ongoing investigation. The target may be Manchin himself, according to a source who asked to remain anonymous…

According to the government source, Manchin was subpoenaed as part of a federal grand jury investigation. The subpoenas asked for contracts and records for businesses that have done work at the governor’s mansion as well as provided services for parties there. The investigation is into whether Manchin has complied with bidding and state contract requirements.

The Charleston Daily Mail says there’s no evidence yet that Manchin is the focus of the probe, and the details they provide about work being done without competitive bidding — installing drapes, putting up wallpaper, etc — sound penny ante. Read Ed’s post from last month about that 16-point lead of Manchin’s, though. The reason his cushion’s so big is because, at the time, he was pulling 29 percent of Republicans; that’ll change now, and could change dramatically depending upon what happens with the probe. In fact, as popular as he is, Manchin already trails by double digits among indies and is saddled with The One’s dismal 32 percent approval rating. Which is to say, there are probably a lot of persuadables in his column right now. This’ll help do some persuadin’.