West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin declined to rule out a third-party presidential bid Wednesday ahead of his appearance at a centrist organization’s town hall next week.
No Labels, the bipartisan group floating a third-party “unity” ticket in 2024, is hosting a “common sense” event on Monday in the key early primary state of New Hampshire, featuring Manchin and former Utah GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman. The Democratic senator is frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for the centrist organization’s bid, and CNN’s Manu Raju pressed Manchin on whether his appearance at the town hall is an indication he’s running on the third-party ticket.
“I’ve never ruled out anything, or ruled in anything,” said Manchin. “This is just strictly a conference we’re having for common sense.” (RELATED: Here’s What West Virginia Dems Think Of Joe Manchin’s Political Future In 2024)
Manchin has yet to announce whether he’ll seek reelection to the Senate, where he has already drawn two prominent Republican challengers with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Rep. Alex Mooney, and has continued to leave the door open for a third-party candidacy.
“The most important thing is, how do we help democracy do what it’s supposed to do?” said Manchin. “That’s to have common sense discussions to see what the American people would like to see accomplished, not just basically the toxic atmosphere we have because of political parties — that’s all this is about.”
Joe Manchin says his event with No Labels in NH is “nothing about a third-party” bid
But he also doesn’t rule out an independent bid and says of D concerns that it could hurt Biden: “The most important thing is: How do we help democracy do what it’s supposed to do?” he told me pic.twitter.com/ovxYcIPkJz
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 12, 2023
Many Democrats are concerned that a Manchin-No Labels candidacy would hurt them in 2024, and hand the White House and the Senate seat over to the GOP. The centrist organization has also indicated it wouldn’t run a third-party ticket in the event that former President Donald Trump isn’t the nominee, as the group doesn’t see as much of a chance for success.
Manchin is currently down by over 20 points against Justice, and Mooney leads the senator by 1 point, according to a May East Carolina University Center For Survey Research poll. The same survey indicates Justice is trouncing Mooney 53% to 12%.
“I am laser focused on doing the job West Virginians elected me to do — lowering healthcare costs, protecting Social Security and Medicare, shoring up American energy security and getting our fiscal house in order,” Manchin previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “But make no mistake, I will win any race I enter.”
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