Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday that he’s “absolutely” considering a run for the White House in 2024, with his latest remarks being the strongest confirmation thus far that his widely rumored presidential run may well come to fruition.
“I will do anything I can to help my country, and you’re saying, ‘Does that mean you would consider it?’ Absolutely,” Mr. Manchin said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Nov. 15.
“Every American should consider it if they’re in a position to help save the country,” he continued, adding, “I think we’re on the wrong course, so I will do everything possible.”
Mr. Manchin’s remarks about America being on the “wrong course” comes as President Joe Biden’s approval ratings dipped recently and as a 538 poll showed that nearly half of all voters said the president’s policies have hurt their financial health—and less than one in five said his policies have helped.
Earlier, the centrist senator from West Virginia said that he would not be seeking re-election to the upper chamber, sparking speculation that he might seek to run for president in 2024 as a third party candidate.
Several Democrats have said that Mr. Manchin, a moderate who has won accolades from Republicans for being sharply critical of President Biden’s leadership and policies, was their best hope for hanging onto his Senate seat in the narrowly-divided upper chamber.
Mr. Manchin said in a Nov. 9 video statement that his immediate plans were to travel the country to see if there’s interest in creating a movement to “mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.”
Timing of Manchin’s Possible Announcement
Mr. Manchin hinted that he was open to a presidential run in an Oct. 1 interview on Fox News, saying he would likely make a decision by the end of the year.
Asked about his third-party aspirations after he told host Shannon Bream that “people are not satisfied right now” with the current field of Democrat and Republican candidates, while indicating that he may be open to running, he said of the prospect of running and his chances, “I think, yes, I could bring it together.”
The Fox News host then asked Mr. Manchin about his timeline for a possible announcement.
“Well, I’ve said before the end of the year, I will,” Mr. Manchin replied. “We’re still planning.”
NBC’s Kristen Welker, who interviewed Mr. Manchin in the Nov. 15 segment, said on-air that he told her that he was now eyeing Super Tuesday as an announcement deadline. In the current election cycle, Super Tuesday falls on March 5, 2024.
Separately, in a Nov. 14 interview on CBS, Mr. Manchin said there’s “plenty of time” for him to pursue a potential third-party bid, while seeming eager to cool expectations for an imminent announcement.
“Only in America does the next election start the day after the last election, most countries don’t have an election a year ahead of time,” Mr. Manchin said. “And we think, ‘Oh my goodness. It’s now or never.’ I think there’s plenty of time, plenty of time. And especially if there’s a movement in the middle, there’s not a primary. It’ll be basically in the general election process.”
Asked by CBS’s Norah O’Donnell whether a potential third-party run would be to the benefit of former President Donald Trump, the Republican 2024 presidential front-runner, he said he didn’t think so.
“I don’t buy that scenario,” Mr. Manchin replied, adding that he’s “never been a spoiler in anything.”
“I compete the best I possibly can,” he continued. “I compete to win, okay. And I’m gonna work right now to try to win the middle back.”
In the Oct. 1 interview on Fox News, Mr. Manchin indicated he doesn’t believe that President Trump has the ability to govern from a centrist position.
He also said President Biden “used to be” in that centrist position but that this is no longer the case.
“We’re hoping maybe they’ll come back to rational thinking that, ‘Hey, it doesn’t work pushing everything to the extremes,'” Mr. Manchin said.
“This country does not run on the fringes. It never has and it can’t start now. So they’re either going to come back or we’re going to bring it back,” he added.
Mr. Manchin has often been associated with No Labels, a centrist organization seeking alternatives to the two-party system.
On whether No Labels would endorse Sen. Manchin as a potential third-party candidate, the organization issued a statement to The Epoch Times: “Regarding our No Labels Unity presidential ticket, we are gathering input from our members across the country to understand the kind of leaders they would like to see in the White House.”
“As we have said from the beginning, we will make a decision by early 2024 about whether we will nominate a Unity presidential ticket and who will be on it,” the group added, while praising Mr. Manchin’s work in the Senate as a “tireless voice for America’s commonsense majority.”
Before entering the Senate, Mr. Manchin was the governor of West Virginia between 2005 and 2010. He also served as West Virginia’s secretary of state, in the state Senate, and in the state House of Delegates.
His time on Capitol Hill has been marked by a willingness to work across the aisle and, at times, be in opposition to his own party on issues like climate change, energy policy, and spending.
Mr. Manchin’s opposition to key parts of President Biden’s domestic agenda in the narrowly-divided Senate made him one of the most powerful figures in Washington.
Matt McGregor contributed to this report.