We’ve written before about how West Virginia Dem Sen. Joe Manchin and the state’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice have been extremely cagey when it comes to questions surrounding their 2024 Senate intentions.
Justice indicated at the end of February that he’d have an answer to the question after March 11, which was the end of the West Virginia legislative session. So, an announcement from him on if he’s running for Senate could be imminent.
Manchin stated in an early March interview that he won’t announce anything until the end of the year, and not only would he not endorse President Joe Biden in that same interview but he also wouldn’t rule out a potential presidential run of his own.
All of that, plus other moves Manchin has made in recent weeks (including declining to identify as a Democrat) suggest a man who has already made a decision about his political future, and is biding his time until he figures out the right time to strike:
Sen. Joe Manchin III has been distancing himself from President Biden ahead of a possible run as a Democrat in solid red West Virginia even as he plays coy with his reelection intentions.
He has opposed a series of the president’s nominees, is backing GOP efforts to dismantle Mr. Biden’s regulatory agenda and is in a bitter fight with the administration over the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act that he helped write and pass in a party-line vote.
These days, Mr. Manchin has opposed three nominees in recent weeks, successfully tanking Gigi Sohn’s bid to join the Federal Communications Commission and blocking Interior Department nominee Laura Daniel-Davis with his perch atop the Senate Energy Committee.
It would seem that Manchin is trying to make nice with the West Virginia voters who have abandoned him in droves after he struck a bad deal with a powerful New York Democrat (Chuck Schumer) on the bogusly-named Inflation Reduction Act and came away empty-handed in the process—which I suspect he knows could also play a significant role in his chances for another term in the U.S. Senate.
To reiterate a point I’ve made before, as the old saying goes, the chickens have come home to roost for Joe Manchin. He’s made his political bed, and now he’s having to try and run away from it in hopes that voters will forgive him for his betrayal.
In waiting until later in the year to announce his intentions, Manchin is trying to give himself time to cover his tracks, likely with the thought in mind that voters have short attention spans. But he’s got a lot going against him even if they do, specifically the fact that West Virginia grows redder with each election cycle and now has more registered Republicans than Democrats.
Not only that, but Justice is popular in the state while Manchin is underwater. So, the tapdancing away from Joe Biden has commenced, but unfortunately for Manchin, it may be too little, too late.