- Manchin ruled out an independent candidacy for president
- The moderate Democrat has floated the idea of a presidential run for months.
- Experts worry that a more moderate candidate will only help former President Donald Trump defeat President Joe Biden in 2024.
Sen. Joe Manchin announced Friday that he will not run an independent campaign for president.
“I will not seek a third-party candidacy,” he said during a speech at West Virginia University. “I will not participate in a presidential race.”
Details of the announcement were first reported by the Washington Post.
The West Virginia Democrat is one of the few moderate U.S. senators who have continued to weigh a challenge against aging President Joe Biden and bombastic former President Donald Trump.
Manchin repeatedly cited the need to offer voters a more centrist and sensible option in the 2024 presidential election.
In November he announced that he would retire from the Senate and not run for re-election in 2024, as he began a “listening tour” across the country before making a decision on his political future.
Americans Together founder and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks at the New Hampshire Policy Institute
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is surrounded by reporters as he heads to a Senate vote.
On Thursday, Manchin joked with reporters about a possible presidential announcement during an appearance at the City Club of Cleveland breakfast.
“Third party management, everything is on the table,” Manchin said in response to a question from NBC News. Nothing is ruled out. “I’m still evaluating all of that.”
He also teased a possible running mate choice if he were to run for president.
“Hypothetically, if I had to pick my running mate, really who I would ask now is Mitt Romney,” Manchin said.
Romney joked with reporters in response to Manchin’s comment.
“Well, that’s really presumptuous,” Romney said. ‘I would be the president. He would be my running mate.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) (R) speaks with U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.V., and Vice President Joe Biden
Romney and Manchin, both retiring from the Senate, frequently talk about creating a new political party, both frustrated with the direction of the Republican and Democratic Parties.
Democrats were outraged by the idea of Manchin launching a third-party candidacy, arguing it would only divert votes from Biden to help Trump.
The party’s “working slogan,” Romney explained to his biographer, was “stop the stupid,” but the idea never became a reality.