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Manchin ruling out run for White House in 2024

West Virginia Democrat earlier decided not to run for another Senate term

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., does not plan to run for president after previously ruling out seeking reelection to the Senate.
Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., does not plan to run for president after previously ruling out seeking reelection to the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III announced Friday that he will not run for president in 2024, but he also took swipes at both parties and the political environment.

“The Democratic Party’s not the Democratic Party that I was born into, and I’ve believed in all my life,” Manchin, 76, said at West Virginia University. “The Republican Party’s not the Grand Old Party that I’ve always looked at and admired.”

He said that he planned to continue his work with his Americans Together political organization, but would not run himself. He had been touted as a potential independent candidate on the “No Labels” ticket, and a cross-country listening tour did little to tamp down speculation that he might run.

“I will not be seeking a third-party run. I will not be involved in a presidential run. I will be involved in making sure that we secure a president who has the knowledge and has the passion and has the ability to bring this country together,” Manchin said. “And right now we’re challenged.”

Manchin’s announcement featured plenty of complaints about the two-party system, including that the Democratic Party had effectively blocked Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from participating in the presidential primary process.

“But just having the name Kennedy, being a Democrat in the most historic Democratic family, he can’t participate. It tells you the system is broken,” Manchin said.

Manchin also had plenty of complaints about Republicans, including former President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on members of his party to abandon a bipartisan Senate border security and immigration policy plan.

Manchin seemed to doubt the viability of a third-party candidate at the moment. No Labels has been working to secure ballot access for a candidate in all 50 states, but has faced criticism it could draw votes away from President Joe Biden in swing states and ensure a win for Donald Trump — a charge its leaders deny.

“I am not going to be a deal-breaker if you will, spoiler, whatever you want to call it,” Manchin said, suggesting that was because “democracy is at stake right now.”

“Vladimir Putin understands the strength of your allies more than Donald Trump believes,” Manchin said. He pointed to the Russian president’s efforts to pressure other European countries not to join NATO.

Manchin’s speech came the same morning that the Biden-Harris presidential campaign launched a new battleground state ad highlighting the president’s support for NATO and recent comments from Trump suggesting that he would give a green light for Putin to launch attacks on NATO member states that didn’t contribute significant enough resources to their own defense.

Manchin, who previously said he would not seek a third term in the Senate and previously served as governor of West Virginia, made his announcement during extended remarks, which began with him talking about his personal and professional history. He also discussed recent efforts to craft an immigration and border security compromise. 

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