Republicans’ prospects of recapturing control of the U.S. Senate were boosted on Thursday with the conservative Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s (W.Va.) announcement that he will not seek reelection.
Mindful that his party controls 48 Democratic and three independent votes in the upper chamber, and that Republicans are favored in next year’s Senate map, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) has been privately urging Manchin to run again in 2024.
Separately, the West Virginia senator is considering whether to run for president as an independent, sparking concerns that he would peel votes away from President Joe Biden, who is running for reelection.
“After months of deliberation and long conversations with my family, I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia,” Manchin announced in a video shared on X.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) had already disclosed plans to run for Manchin’s seat, with polls showing the conservative governor handily beating the senator in a hypothetical contest.
In March, Justice signed a law banning guideline directed, medically supported gender-affirming healthcare for minors in the state.
President Joe Biden issued a statement about Manchin’s announcement:
“For more than forty years – as a state legislator, a Secretary of State, a Governor, and a Senator – Joe Manchin has dedicated himself to serving the people of his beloved West Virginia. During my time as Vice President and now as President, Joe and I have worked together to get things done for hardworking families.
“From the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – which is upgrading America’s aging infrastructure, to the PACT Act – which is making sure our veterans get the care they deserve, to the Inflation Reduction Act – which is strengthening our energy security and lowering prescription drug costs for our seniors, to the most meaningful gun safety legislation in three decades, we’ve made real progress. I was also proud when Joe voted to make history and confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
“Joe, Gayle, and the entire Manchin family should feel proud of the Senator’s service to West Virginia and to our country. I look forward to continuing our work together to get things done for the American people.”
Washington Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association.