Republican hopes in the Senate were dealt a hit on Thursday when moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced he would not be seeking reelection in 2024.
Manchin announced his decision not to seek reelection to the Senate in a message shared on social media, saying he will instead “travel the country and speak out to see if there is interest in creating a movement to mobilise the middle and bring Americans together.”
Because of Manchin’s choice not to run again in such a heavily red state, Democrats will be in a difficult position to defend seats in other vulnerable states while still maintaining their 51-49 majority in the chamber.
Minutes after Manchin’s decision, Senate Republican Conference Chair Steve Daines of Montana released a statement in which he said, “We like our odds in West Virginia.”
Manchin’s plans after departing Capitol Hill are murky. At a No Labels conference at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire earlier this year, he fueled rumours of a third-party presidential run.
“I have never spoiled a race in which I participated. “I’ve been in races to win,” Manchin remarked back in July. And if I enter a race, I will certainly come out on top.
Manchin has been at war with fellow Democrats and Republicans both throughout his career in Washington. Despite helping the president record some significant legislative successes in the first half of his presidency, the senator has also been an outspoken opponent of Joe Biden, especially on matters of the environment, energy and the economy.
Before being elected to the Senate in 2010, Manchin served as governor of West Virginia.