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Senator Joe Manchin leaves the Democratic Party and registers as an independent

The legislator accused both parties of "partisan extremism" and assured that he would continue "fighting for the sensible majority of the United States."

Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA / Cordon Press

(Cordon Press)

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After months of speculation, Senator Joe Manchin left the Democratic Party and registered as an independent.

The senator from West Virginia, a frequent critic of his fellow party members until recently, had previously announced that he was considering leaving the party.

At one point, it seemed likely that he would run as a candidate in the Democratic elections and later as an independent. When he announced that he would not run for Senate, it sparked speculation that he might run for governor on Congress, despite his earlier statements.

"Throughout my days in elected office, I have always been proud of my commitment to common sense, bipartisanship and my desire to bring people together," said the senator in a statement. "I have never seen America through a partisan lens."

Manchin explained that since he was voted into the Senate 14 years ago, he has witnessed how the Democratic and Republican Parties "leave West Virginia and our country behind," following a path of "partisan extremism."

"To stay true to myself and remain committed to put country before party, I have decided to register as an independent with no party affiliation and continue to fight for America’s sensible majority," he added.