Latest News

Manchin says he won’t launch independent presidential bid

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Sen. Joe Manchin said on Friday he will not mount a third-party presidential bid, a relief to Democrats who spent months worrying about his refusal to shut down the possibility of challenging President Joe Biden.

“I will not be seeking a third-party run. I will not be involved in a presidential run,” Manchin said at an event at West Virginia University.

Though few in Washington expected him to actually follow through with an independent candidacy, Manchin’s flirtations with the centrist group No Labels was enough to prompt a party-wide effort to argue that a Manchin run would only help former President Donald Trump. Manchin has acknowledged he could not support Trump — even as he kept his options open, declined to endorse Biden, and expressed hopes of Biden moving toward the middle. He called Biden a “compassionate person” on Friday.

As he retires from the Senate, Manchin’s been touring the country testing out his moderate message and declining to shoot down the possibility of a presidential run. He even floated fellow retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) as a potential running mate on Thursday, though Romney has publicly sought to dissuade Manchin from mounting an independent bid.

The West Virginia Democrat is also not running for his Senate seat, meaning this is likely the last year Manchin serves in office after a long run in his state. Manchin is a former governor, West Virginia secretary of state and state house member. He has a new centrist group, though, called Americans Together, and said in pushing politics to the middle he can still “make a real difference.”

Manchin famously helped cut down Democrats’ agenda during Biden’s first two years as president, arguing his party was trying to start permanent new programs without sufficient funding for them. He also refused to change the filibuster.

In his Friday speech, Manchin expressed frustration with the recent failure of a bipartisan border deal and entrenched opposition to some gun safety reforms. He criticized the political parties as having “weaponized the political process.”

But he showed few second thoughts about not running for public office in 2024.

“I am convinced you can’t fix it from Washington. And I’ve tried for 14 years,” Manchin said. “This will be the least productive, most destructive Congress that we’ve ever had … people just want to get shit done. I want to get it done too.”