Joe Manchin Puts Speculation to Rest, Will Not Launch Presidential Bid

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks during a "Politics & Eggs" event at the New H
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) finally put months of speculation to rest of a potential independent presidential bid, announcing Friday that he “will not be seeking a third-party run.”

Manchin, known as a more moderate Democrat, made the announcement during a speech in Morgantown, West Virginia.

“I will not be seeking a third-party run,” the senator said, according to the New York Times. “I will not be involved in a presidential run.”

For months, Senate Democrats have expressed concern that a third-party bid from Manchin could not only jeopardize their narrow majority in the Senate but also hurt President Biden in a potential — and increasingly likely — matchup against former President Trump.

“I think it would be very, very unfortunate if Joe Manchin decided to do that,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said last year. “He knows that if he were to step in [to the race] that it would make it much more likely Donald Trump would be president again, and I know Joe Manchin doesn’t want that.”

Despite these concerns, Manchin continued to flirt with a potential 2024 presidential bid, expressing interest in launching one on the “No Labels” ticket, particularly if Biden had a “health scare.”

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As Breitbart News reported in January:

The No Labels ticket, an establishment bipartisan group, set a mid-March deadline around Super Tuesday for Manchin to decide on a presidential run. That leaves about one and a half months for him to make up his mind. No Labels leaders told CNN they do not know if the retiring West Virginia senator will run.

Manchin is not pleased with many of Biden’s fiscal and energy policies and asked the White House for a meeting to speak with the president about the issues in hopes of pulling him to the middle, Breitbart News reported. The White House refused the meeting, CNN reported, but “without risking riling him up by going to him directly.”

Manchin’s announcement comes shortly after floating failed presidential candidate Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) as a potential running mate, should he decide to run.

“Hypothetically, if I was picking my running mate, really who I would ask right now is Mitt Romney,” Manchin stated.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), right, and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) arrive to hear President Joe Biden deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Al Drago, Pool via AP)

Nevertheless, Biden still appears to be the one who has an uphill battle in a potential matchup with Trump, as several surveys show him trailing the former president nationally and in key swing states, even when third-party candidates are included. A Harvard/Harris poll released in January saw Trump’s lead expanding to double digits in that exact scenario:

But when the field is fully expanded to include not only Kennedy, but fellow independent candidate Cornel West and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Trump’s lead over Biden expands to double digits, as he leads with 42 percent support to Biden’s 31 percent. Kennedy follows with 15 percent, while West and Stein garner two percent support each.

All the while, Biden struggles to topple Trump among independent voters. The latest survey from the Economist/YouGov, for instance, showed Trump leading Biden by 24 points — 45 percent to Biden’s 21 percent — among independents.

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