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This is a developing story and will be updated.
Updated on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 at 3:45 p.m.
***Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include comments on Manchin’s decision as well as additional background.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Thursday he will not seek reelection to the United States Senate.
Manchin made the announcement in an email and video press release Thursday afternoon.
“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 said in the release. “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.”
Manchin highlighted key political issues in the release.
“Our economy is not working for many Americans from the rising cost of food and fuel and everything in between,” he said. “We have a border crisis with illegal drugs entering our country and killing Americans every day. Our national debt is out of control and Americans don’t feel safe in their own communities. We are providing critical aid to two of our allies fighting wars for their survival, and we must prevent being pulled into a major war ourselves. These are not Republican or Democratic challenges. They are American challenges. They affect every one of us, and we need to face them together.”
The two-term senator, first entering the Senate in 2010 to fill the unexpired term of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, did not rule out another run for a state or national office.
“Public service has and continues to drive me every day,” he said. “That is the vow that I made to my father 40 years ago, and I intend to keep that vow until my dying day.”
Manchin was facing a tough reelection in a state overwhelmingly won by former President Donald Trump. Trump has endorsed Republican Gov. Jim Justice for the seat Manchin currently holds.
A number of politicians have issued statements on Manchin’s decision.
Fellow U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito issues the following statement: “Thank you Joe and Gayle for your years of service to our beloved West Virginia. I’ve enjoyed serving alongside you— our senior senator. And as you said, we still have much work ahead of us. Thank you for your friendship, Joe. I look forward to that continuing.”
Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, said “Senator Joe Manchin and I have not always agreed on policy and politics, but we’re both lifelong West Virginians who love this state beyond belief, and I respect and thank him for his many years of public service.”
Manchin was West Virginia’s 34th Governor, serving from 2005 to 2010. He was Secretary of State before becoming Governor. He became the state’s senior U.S. Senator when Jay Rockefeller retired in 2015.
He helped found and was the president of Enersystems, a coal brokerage company his family owns and operates.
Manchin won the 2004 West Virginia gubernatorial election by a large margin and was reelected by an even larger margin in 2008. He won the 2010 special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by incumbent Democrat Robert C. Byrd’s death with 53 percent of the vote, and in 2012 was elected to a full term with 61 percent of the vote. Manchin won a second term in 2018 with just under 50 percent of the vote.
State Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, who represents Manchin’s home county said “I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving with Senator Manchin my entire political career—from his time as Secretary of State, through both of his gubernatorial terms, and while serving in the United States Senate. The Senator and I have agreed on many things, such as his leadership in the fight for our government to keep the promise of lifetime healthcare and pensions for coal miners. However, as happens in politics, we had disagreements as well. When that happened, we always disagreed with respect and civility. I will always respect him for the example he has set for his colleagues of how to discuss points of difference and overlap so that we can find some middle ground. Our country and our state need more of those discussions.”
Following Sen. Manchin’s announcement, John Findlay, the campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-WV-2, released the following:
“With Joe Manchin out of the race, there’s only one candidate left in West Virginia who supports the liberal Biden agenda and that is Jim Justice. Congressman Alex Mooney is the only true conservative for U.S. Senate who will fight back against the Biden agenda and that is why he will win the Republican primary in May of 2024.”