West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin says balance and common sense are the keys to his success as a Democratic politician in an increasingly Republican state.
The 66-year-old Manchin is on a first-name basis with more than a few West Virginia voters. His popularity at home makes him stand out in Washington.
The gun-owning, back-slapping Democrat has support from working-class voters in a conservative state. He's popular enough to have run 25 points ahead of President Barack Obama in last year's election.
Politically, at least, Manchin's success could provide a road map for Democrats in other conservative states where Republicans have dominated in recent elections.