Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of few Democrats considered to be “moderate” in the Senate, has announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2024 — though he did not rule out a presidential run.
The announcement came in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday, where the Democrat senator declared that he had “accomplished” what he had set out to do for his state.
“I’ve 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,” Manchin said in a video included in the post.
“But what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking and speaking out to see if there’s an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together,” the West Virginia senator added.
“To the West Virginians who have put their trust in me and fought side by side to make our state better – it has been an honor of my life to serve you. Thank you,” Manchin wrote in the post.
To the West Virginians who have put their trust in me and fought side by side to make our state better – it has been an honor of my life to serve you. Thank you. My statement on my political future: pic.twitter.com/dz8JuXAyTL
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) November 9, 2023
This surprising decision has led to speculation that Republicans may pick up a seat in the Senate, where Democrats have a narrow majority of 51-49, which includes three independent senators who caucus with the Democrats. West Virginia has been known as a deep-red state for several years now, meaning that it is likely a Republican could take Manchin’s place in the Senate.
Joe Manchin is not running for re-election which means the odds of Republicans taking this WV Senate seat just went 📈📈 https://t.co/CZyhiSoUBg
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) November 9, 2023
Prior to announcing his retirement, Manchin was facing a strong challenge from West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) — with an Emerson College survey from early October showing Justice beating Manchin in a hypothetical race by 13 points. Justice is currently running in the GOP primary against Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV).
There has been speculation for several months that Manchin was planning to switch parties, especially after comments he made in August that he would “think very seriously” about leaving the Democrat Party. The moderate Democrat has consistently complained about the division within the U.S., which he said has left “common-sense” people “politically homeless.”
There has also been speculation that Manchin was planning a third-party campaign for the presidency in 2024. According to The Daily Wire, “Manchin has also hinted for a while that he was open to the idea of a third-party campaign for the White House in 2024. And there has been speculation that Manchin and former Republican Utah Governor John Huntsman could team up after they appeared together for a No Labels town hall in July.”
His retirement announcement comes after a long career in politics, as Manchin has served in public office in West Virginia since the early 1980s — including as governor and in Congress.