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Joe Manchin announces he is not running for president in 2024

By Ben Marquis
|
February 23, 2023

In light of some uncertainty surrounding whether President Joe Biden will run for re-election in 2024, there has been some speculation that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) could announce himself as a candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

The relatively centrist Democratic senator from West Virginia just shut those rumors down, however, and made it clear in an interview that he will not be running for the presidency in 2024, Fox News reported.

In fact, Manchin could not even definitively say whether or not he would seek re-election to the Senate for another term in the coming election cycle.

"I’m not running for president"

Sen. Manchin was at the West Virginia state Capitol building in Charleston on Wednesday and participated in an interview with local MetroNews talk radio host Hoppy Kercheval when the topic of his potential future political plans, at least as of "right now," came up for discussion, according to The Hill.

"I’m not running for president of the United States. I can assure you of that as we sit here today," Manchin said.

Asked if he had definitively ruled out a future presidential run, the senator seemed to leave that possibility open and replied, "I don’t know. I think right now, you don’t know who the Democrat nominee or the Republican nominee is going to be."

As for seeking re-election to his current seat in the Senate, Manchin also appeared undecided and said, "I don’t know, I tell you this is what I do know -- I’m gonna do whatever I can to help my state."

According to the Washington Examiner, Sen. Manchin told Kercheval that he would likely make a final decision on his possible presidential aspirations "two years from now, a year and a half from now."

The senator also seemed to imply that he might be open to running for president as neither a Democrat nor Republican but as an independent centrist, as he said, "My goal is to bring the country together," and asked rhetorically, "There’s nobody fighting for the middle -- so where can I best fight for the middle?"

"Everything's on the table"

The speculation about a possible presidential bid for Sen. Manchin appears to have stemmed from remarks that he himself made last month during an appearance on NBC News' "Meet the Press" with host Chuck Todd, according to a report from Axios at that time.

When asked if he intended to seek re-election to the Senate as a Democrat in the increasingly Republican-dominated state of West Virginia, the senator replied, "I haven't made a decision what I'm going to do in 2024."

"I’ve got two years ahead of me now to do the best I can for the state and for my country," he said, and added, "Everything's on the table" -- though he did rule out making another run for the state's governorship, a position he held previously from 2005 to 2010, per The Hill.

GOP already eyeing Manchin's seat

If Sen. Manchin does seek re-election to the Senate in 2024, which seems most likely, he will undoubtedly face some serious Republican competition for that seat, according to The Hill.

GOP Rep. Alex Mooney (WV-02) has already announced his candidacy for that seat, and Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has reportedly expressed interest in making a run of his own.

So too has West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, according to Fox News, who was first elected as a Democrat in 2016 but famously switched parties in 2017 in support of then-President Donald Trump and then won re-election as a Republican in 2020.

West Virginia Senate seat could be flipped in 2024

Meanwhile, despite the obvious annoyance of more progressive Democrats with the moderate Manchin, they will likely have to set aside any grudges and fully support his presumable re-election bid to the Senate in 2024 simply because they can't afford not to, according to a recent analysis by FiveThirtyEight.

That is because of the 34 Senate seats up for grabs in 2024, 23 are held by Democrats compared to 11 held by Republicans, and of those 23 Democratic seats, eight of them are considered highly vulnerable to be flipped as they are located in Republican-leaning states -- including Manchin in West Virginia.