BREAKING: Senator Joe Manchin Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2024. Senator Manchin made a public statement on X/Twitter.

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In his recorded statement, Manchin said:

"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, 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 in a written and video statement

"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," he said.

Joseph Manchin III entered politics in 1982 when he was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. In 1986, Manchin was elected to the West Virginia State Senate, which seat he held until 1996, when he entered the race for Governor. After losing the Democrat primary election in that year, Manchin exhibited the first in a string of trend-bucking actions within the Democratic Party when he endorsed Republican Cecil Underwood, who was then elected Governor.

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Manchin then ran for and won election as West Virginia Secretary of State and, in 2004, was elected Governor of West Virginia, in which post he served for two terms. During this time, West Virginia was becoming an increasingly Republican state, but Manchin won re-election as Governor in 2008 with almost 70 percent of the vote.

In 2010, Manchin announced he would enter the race for the U.S. Senate to serve the remaining two years of the term of the late Senator Robert Byrd. He won that election and then, in 2012 and 2018, continued to be elected to the Senate from Republican West Virginia, in no small part because of his reputation as a pragmatic centrist who has at times bucked Democratic Party positions, a reputation that has begun to fade in more recent times.

Even so, within the last year, we have seen Senator Manchin disagree publicly with national Democrat talking points, including on such things as the Biden administration's "messaging," New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer's tradition-destroying dress code changes (which Manchin helped reverse), and, in general, try to stem the flow of the Democrat's own Overton Window ever-further to the left.

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Manchin's decision not to seek re-election may be in part due to the popularity of West Virginia's Republican Governor, Jim Justice, who recently announced his intention to challenge Manchin for the seat in the Senate. The most recent polling available has Justice leading by a wide margin, making Manchin's chances look poor; with Manchin's exit from the race, this makes this seat an almost certain flip to the GOP.

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