Sen. Joe Manchin Says He Won’t Run for Governor

September 3, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin announced Tuesday that he intends to remain in the U.S. Senate and won’t run for governor of West Virginia.

Manchin, who served as the state’s governor from 2005 to 2010, had invited speculation for months about a possible run against incumbent Republican Gov. Jim Justice, publicly stating at one point that the governorship is “the best job in the world.”

In a statement, the 72-year-old moderate Democrat said he had to consider “where I could be the most effective for the Mountain state.”

“Ultimately, I believe my role as U.S. senator allows me to position our state for success for the rest of this century,” Manchin said.

He later held a Facebook live event to further explain his reasons for foregoing the governor’s race.

Specifically, the senator vowed, as the top Democrat and Ranking Member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to “push the Senate to take up and pass energy technology bills that invest in all-of-the-above energy that will keep our country as the world economic leader.”

“From advanced nuclear to renewables to carbon capture utilization and storage, we are going to build an energy base that protects jobs, keeps prices low, and recognizes the reality of climate change,” Manchin said. “Not only that, I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that those advanced technologies are manufactured and deployed in West Virginia.”

Beyond energy, the senator said, “we will vote on crucial issues, such as protecting health care for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians, finding a tough but fair pathway forward on immigration, protecting the pensions of our hardworking miners, getting our financial house in order and many other pressing issues.”

The decision is likely a relief to Senate Democrats, who would have struggled to hold on to the seat in the future.

But Manchin hasn’t been an entirely happy camper in Congress, frequently venting frustration over its lack of productivity and bipartisanship.

Back home, Manchin has come to see Governor Justice, a one-time ally who ran as a Democrat in 2016 only to switch to the Republican Party months later, as a political foe.

One area on which the two have traded barbs is the condition of state roads. Justice has made repairing them a priority, but has also blamed Manchin, and another Democratic governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, for their getting in a woeful state in the first place.

Manchin hasn’t been slow to hit back, saying “knowing Jim Justice’s character” it was no surprise that he made such claims.

“He blames others for the work he hasn’t done,” Manchin said.

Manchin was elected governor in 2004 and re-elected in 2008 before winning a special election in the Senate following the June 2010 death of Robert C. Byrd.

Manchin won a second six-year term in the Senate last November, defeating Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

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