Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin made a rare move on Thursday breaking with his party by endorsing embattled Republican Sen. Susan Collins' 2020 re-election bid, saying he would travel to Maine to campaign for her if asked, and it "would be an absolute shame" for "America to lose someone like Susan Collins."

Why it matters: Collins, who cast the decisive vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last year, is one of the most vulnerable Republican senators seeking re-election. Democrats are targeting her seat following their increasingly strong showing in the state. Manchin and Collins are among few remaining moderate senators.

"You think my party will be happy? No. It’s not about party. You know what, [Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer] knows me well. He’s my dear friend. …We’re able to talk. We understand each other. And we’re able to get into it sometimes, but we’re always going to walk away as friends. He knows how I feel about people and I vote the way how I want to vote. "
— Manchin said a taped interview for C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" to air on Friday

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