Manchin Leaves Democratic Party, Fueling Speculation on Future

May 31, 2024 by Dan McCue
Manchin Leaves Democratic Party, Fueling Speculation on Future
Sen. Joe Manchin, I-W.Va.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., left the Democratic Party on Friday, officially registering as an independent.

In a written statement posted to his Senate website, Manchin accuses both the Democratic and Republican parties of engaging in “partisan extremism” that has jeopardized democracy.

“Today, our national politics are broken and neither party is willing to compromise to find common ground,” Manchin said. “To stay true to myself and remain committed to put country before party, I have decided to register as an independent with no party affiliation and continue to fight for America’s sensible majority.”

Manchin previously announced that he would not seek reelection to the Senate this year, and briefly flirted with an independent presidential bid earlier this year.

As a result, the decision he announced Friday is already fueling speculation that he might be eyeing a run for West Virginia governor as an independent candidate.

Manchin gave no indication of his future plans in his announcement and follow-up posts on the X social media platform.

In fact, all he’s said is his “commitment” is “to do everything I can to bring our country together.”

Manchin, a lifelong Democrat and avowed centrist, served two terms as West Virginia governor before his election to the Senate in 2010.

Though he’s been a reliable swing vote for Democrats in the narrowly divided Senate of recent years, he’s also sometimes clashed with the Biden administration, particularly when it comes to climate and clean energy policy.

“From my first day in public service in 1982, I have always focused on doing what’s best for my state and my country, without regard to party or politics,” Manchin said in his announcement. 

“Throughout my days in elected office, I have always been proud of my commitment to common sense, bipartisanship and my desire to bring people together. It’s who I am. It’s who I will always be. I have never seen America through a partisan lens,” he added.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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