(TheIndependentStar.com) – Signaling a sharp loss of popularity among voters in his home state, Senator Joe Manchin has declared that he will not seek re-election next year, a revelation that significantly shifts the political landscape and favors Republican prospects of gaining an additional seat in the Senate.
Manchin, representing West Virginia as a Democrat, has been a frequent challenge for Joe Biden’s administration. His potential re-election campaign was expected to be a formidable contest against the well-liked Republican Governor Jim Justice.
In a statement released via video, Manchin said, “I’ve made one of the toughest decisions of my life and decided that I will not be running for reelection to the United States Senate.” At 76, he stands as a lone Democratic voice in a state that overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election by nearly 30 percentage points.
Despite his team’s outward optimism, polls often depicted Manchin in a neck-and-neck race with Justice or even trailing, casting doubt on his chances in the 2024 election cycle.
This announcement comes on the heels of Senator Mitt Romney’s decision not to seek re-election, another moderate force in the Senate. Romney humorously referred to Manchin as “Mr. President,” acknowledging his significant influence in the evenly split Senate.
While weighing his Senate future, Manchin hinted at a possible presidential bid, although it seems the critical timing for such a campaign may have elapsed.
He shared his intention to travel the nation, gauging interest for a movement that might “mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.”
Following the 2020 elections, which resulted in a 50-50 Senate split, Manchin, along with Senator Kirsten Sinema, became pivotal in legislative decisions. He has frequently frustrated members of his own party by blocking substantial parts of their agenda, such as various versions of the expansive Build Back Better plan.
Eventually, Manchin supported the staggering $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act, a decision he has since critiqued.
With the Senate potentially up for grabs in 2024, Republicans, who have been out of the majority for four years, see a path to reclaim control. Despite Democrats currently holding a 51-49 advantage, they face the uphill challenge of defending 23 seats, while Republicans only need to defend 11.
Reflecting on his career, Manchin drew inspiration from John F. Kennedy’s famous call to service, also recalling advice from his father, who viewed politics negatively but supported his son’s decision to run for office under the condition of serving all people.
To the West Virginians who have put their trust in me and fought side by side to make our state better – it has been an honor of my life to serve you. Thank you. My statement on my political future: pic.twitter.com/dz8JuXAyTL
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) November 9, 2023