Joe Manchin Quits Democrat Party, Sparking Speculation About His Future


Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has made a significant decision. The West Virginia senator announced Friday he will depart from the Democratic party, a move long speculated for the retiring senator.

Manchin’s change in party affiliation might not alter his approach to governance. He is expected to continue caucusing with Democrats, aligning with three other independents.

By remaining in the Democratic caucus, Manchin can continue chairing the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The timing of Manchin’s announcement, coming less than 24 hours after a Manhattan jury found former President Donald Trump guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records, adds to speculation about his future plans.

Manchin could decide to run for a third Senate term as an independent. Potential candidates for West Virginia’s Senate seat reportedly must declare their party affiliation by June 1 to run in November with that party’s support. Candidates have until August 1 to declare their candidacy:

Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV), once a Democrat himself, is the Republican nominee for the Senate seat Manchin is vacating, having won a contested primary decisively. Justice would be a formidable opponent for Manchin, who has maintained office as a Democrat despite West Virginia’s significant shift towards Republican dominance.

Manchin has also considered the possibility of a presidential run. He has criticized President Joe Biden for his stance on American energy and for not addressing the border crisis effectively. He previously showed interest in a potential “No Labels” candidacy, especially if Biden encountered health issues.

However, in February, Manchin announced he “will not be seeking a third-party run” and “will not be involved in a presidential run.”

The likelihood of Manchin or any third-party candidate winning is slim. While the impact of the Manhattan jury’s verdict on Trump is still unfolding, Trump’s considerable fundraising following the verdict – which overwhelmed the GOP’s online fundraising platform Thursday evening – indicates he may solidify or even grow his support.

Bradley Jaye
Bradley Jaye
Political reporter.

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