Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin met with voters from the key early primary state of Iowa Wednesday, sparking rumors of a 2024 presidential bid, according to Axios.
Manchin has yet to announce a run for reelection in West Virginia and has left the door open for White House aspirations, as he continues to criticize President Joe Biden’s progressive policies and refuses to endorse him for a second term. The senator met with Iowa leaders in Washington, D.C., where Manchin made his centrist pitch, according to Axios.
“I believe the government should be your partner. I’m not your provider,” said Manchin, per Axios. “When people say, ‘What’s your politics?’ I say I’m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate, which I think most Americans are.” (RELATED: Four Democrats Refuse To Endorse Biden For 2024)
At the meeting of roughly 170 members of the “economic and community development organization,” the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Manchin wouldn’t confirm whether he had presidential aspirations, and instead told Axios he’s focused on bringing the country together.
“Honest to God, my main concern: How do we save this nation? How do we bring people together to protect the quality of life, the values that we’ve had that we were raised with? That’s all,” said Manchin. “You have got to fight for the reasonable, responsible middle and no one is doing that.”
Manchin could run on the centrist political organization No Labels‘ bipartisan ticket in 2024, which would serve as “an insurance policy” against a Trump-Biden rematch, founder and CEO Nancy Jacobson told Axios. The liberal think tank Third Way does not want a third-party presidential candidate, as they fear that would hand the White House over to the GOP.
Two Republicans have already jumped in the Senate race to unseat Manchin — Gov. Jim Justice and Rep. Alex Mooney. Justice currently leads Mooney in the GOP primary by 28 points, and the governor would beat Manchin 43% to 29% while the congressman would lose by 6 points, according to a May 3 National Journal poll.
While Sam Runyon, a spokesman for Manchin, confirmed his meeting to the Daily Caller News Foundation, he did not provide comment on the senator’s presidential aspirations or his reelection campaign.
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