Joe Manchin says he will not seek re-election, hurting Democrats’ hope of retaining Senate control

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Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced Thursday that he would not be seeking re-election in 2024.

“I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia,” said Manchin in a statement.

“I have made one of the toughest decisions of my life and decided that I will not be running for re-election to the United States Senate, but what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together,” he added.

The announcement means Democrats will have to fight to keep the seat from a majority Republican state just to retain their control of the U.S. Senate.

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Manchin’s statement also led to speculation that he was considering a third-party presidential campaign. NBC News quoted a source close to Manchin’s office that appeared to confirm the speculation.

“Nothing is off the table,” said the person. “No specific decisions have been made other than a commitment to find a way to change the country’s political dialogue.”

Later on Thursday, Manchin appeared on CNBC with Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah to advocate for bipartisan solutions to the growing federal debt.

Manchin’s retirement puts additional pressure on Democrats, who will have to defend 24 seats in the Senate in 2024, as opposed to Republicans who only have to defend 10 seats.

“I’ve enjoyed serving alongside you — our senior senator,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the junior senator of West Virginia. “And as you said, we still have much work ahead of us. Thank you for your friendship, Joe. I look forward to that continuing.”

Manchin first won the Senate seat in 2010 in a special election, but his popularity has waned to the point where he only won in 2018 by three points over his Republican challenger.

Here’s more about Manchin’s announcement:

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