WHEELING - West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin's appointee to the U.S. Senate - Democrat Sen. Carte Goodwin - voted along party lines with each of the 39 votes he cast during the most recent session of Congress, voting records indicate.
Goodwin followed the lead of U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in voting in step with the Democrat majority on issues such as Elena Kagan's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Goodwin is Manchin's appointee to the seat previously held by the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. Manchin himself is seeking the seat as the Democrats' candidate for the office.
A special election for the seat, pitting Manchin against Republican John Raese, is set for Nov. 2.
Manchin's campaign downplayed Goodwin's votes, saying if the governor is elected to the Senate, he won't be beholden to vote along party lines.
"The governor will be an independent voice in Washington and will place his votes with the best interests of West Virginians in mind," said Lara Ramsburg, Manchin spokeswoman. "He will stand up to anyone - including any president (and) regardless of party - when they're wrong."
Raese's campaign has attempted to tie Manchin to President Obama, referring to him as a "rubber stamp" for the president. Goodwin's votes during the past several months only strengthen that position, said Raese spokesman Kevin McLaughlin.
"Sen. Goodwin's voting record tells West Virginians all they need to know about Joe Manchin," McLaughlin said. "The man he handpicked to represent this state has voted with Barack Obama 100 percent of the time. John Raese would vote with West Virginians 100 percent of the time."
Goodwin was sworn into office July 20, and is listed as participating in roll call votes 209 through 248. On 38 of the 39 votes, Goodwin and Rockefeller voted exactly the same.
On the last vote of the most recent session - one calling for adjournment - Goodwin voted "yes," while Rockefeller is listed as having not voted.
Goodwin's first votes pertained to the extension of unemployment benefits, which he supported. He later voted with Democrats on other noteworthy pieces of legislation, at least one of which stopped the reduction of federal spending: