Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that he will not seek reelection, putting an end to speculation about his plans for next year and adding to the uncertainty that Democrats will be able to retain control of the Senate.
“I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia,” Manchin said in a video statement posted on social media. “I have made one of the toughest decisions I have ever made in my life, and I have decided that I will not be running for reelection.”
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His exit from the race quickly raised speculation that he would mount a presidential bid via the group No Labels, which has been readying the possibility of backing a third party challenge next year. That has raised big concerns among Democrats that such a bid would siphon votes from Joe Biden to the benefit of Donald Trump, should both win their party nominations.
“We need to take back America and not let this divisive hatred further pull us apart,” Manchin said.
He added, “Public service has and continues to drive me every day. That is the vow I made to my father more than 40 years ago, and I intent to keep that vow until my dying day.”
No Labels issued a statement praising Manchin. They said that they will make a decision in early 2024 “about whether we will nominate a Unity presidential ticket and who will be on it.”
Manchin faced a tough reelection battle in West Virginia, which has become more solidly Republican during his tenure. The current governor of the state, Jim Justice, actually switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 2019. Justice announced earlier this year that he would try to flip the state’s Senate seat, and recently received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump in the GOP primary.
Manchin has been in the Senate since 2010, elected to the seat once occupied by Robert Byrd. Manchin has served as governor of the state from 2004 to 2010.
As a centrist, Manchin often was the holdout vote that kept Senate Democrats from advancing parts of President Joe Biden’s agenda. In his video, he said that he had been “putting country before party” and “working across the aisle” to find common ground. “Many times this approach has landed me in hot water, but the fight to unite has been well worth it,” he said. That said, Manchin was a key figure in passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the climate and healthcare package passed last year after long negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
To the West Virginians who have put their trust in me and fought side by side to make our state better – it has been an honor of my life to serve you. Thank you. My statement on my political future: pic.twitter.com/dz8JuXAyTL
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) November 9, 2023
More to come.
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