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Joe Manchin will not run for re-election in the Senate, fueling rumors of a presidential candidacy

The West Virginia senator will not seek a third term, which practically gives the seat to the GOP.

Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA / Cordon Press

(Cordon Press)

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Joe Manchin confirmed that he will not run for re-election in the Senate. The current senator from West Virginia confirmed his decision through a statement in which he subtly hinted that he could become a presidential candidate. Not running for a third term practically hands over his seat in the Senate to the Republican Party, given that Manchin, a Democrat, was practically the only candidate who could turn The Mountain State blue in the 2024 election.

The Democrat arrived to the Senate in 2010 after the death of Robert Byrd. He successfully defended his seat in 2012 and 2018, winning in a state that had long been accustomed to voting for the GOP. However, 2024 seemed a little more difficult, given that it coincided with a presidential election.

In 2020, Donald Trump carried West Virginia by a margin of 38.9 points. If this difference were repeated for the eventual Republican candidate, Manchin would have had to get almost 40% of these voters to support a Democrat in the Senate. As if this were not enough, Republican leadership has convinced popular Governor Jim Justice to enter the race.

"After months of deliberation and long conversations with my family, I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia. …I have made one of the toughest decisions of my life and decided that I will not be running for re-election to the United States Senate.”

However, perhaps Manchin’s most important words were what came next, when he added that he would travel around the country to evaluate the interest in a movement that unites Americans, something very similar to what the group No Labels proposes, which intends to promote a moderate candidate for president.

"But what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together," Manchin said.

With the moderate Democrat out of the equation, it is almost a given that the GOP will reclaim the seat he leaves vacant in the Senate, bringing the count to a 50-50 split. To recover the majority that was lost in 2020, Steve Daines, president of the NRSC, will have to wait for the Republican presidential ticket to prevail at the polls or add at least another victory. At the same time, he could not afford to lose another seat.