West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is likely going to leave the Democratic Party if he runs for office in 2024, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Manchin hasn’t announced a run for reelection, where he would face stiff opposition from Republicans in the predominately red state, and has also teased a third-party run for president.
The senator is deciding between three options for next year — retire from politics, run for reelection as an independent or for president on centrist organization No Labels’ ticket, sources familiar with private meetings told the Post.
When Manchin, his wife and daughter met with Democratic donors over Labor Day weekend, they told the senator he should run for reelection, according to the Post. Manchin insisted he would only do so as an independent, which he believes would be necessary to win.
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Republican Gov. Jim Justice and GOP Rep. Alex Mooney are vying for their party’s nomination to potentially take on Manchin in 2024, and a late May survey from East Carolina University suggests both would beat the senator in a general. Another poll from Research America released Sept. 1 indicates Manchin has a 4-point lead over Mooney, but would lose to Justice, the GOP primary frontrunner, by 13 points.
The senator also privately met with former President Bill Clinton, who advised Manchin not to run for president, citing similar concerns from other Democrats that it could allow for former President Donald Trump, the clear frontrunner for the Republican primary, to secure a win against President Joe Biden, according to the Post.
Manchin has already publicly floated departing from the Democrats, and told West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval that he’s “thinking seriously” about it.
“I have to have peace of mind, basically. The brand has become so bad. The D brand and R brand … You’ve heard me say a million times, I am not a Washington Democrat,” said Manchin. “I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time. I haven’t made any decisions whatsoever on any of my political direction. I want to make sure that my voice is truly an independent voice.”
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Manchin served in both chambers of the state legislature in the 1980s and 1990s prior to his time as secretary of state, according to Ballotpedia. The senator went on to complete two terms as governor before being elected to the upper chamber in a special election in 2010, and the election 2018 was his most narrow victory against a Republican opponent by only 3.3 points.
Manchin, Clinton and No Labels did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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