"Manchin Contemplates Third-Party Presidential Run: Time is on His Side!"

Sen. Joe Manchin spoke with "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell for his first interview since announcing he won't run for reelection.

"Manchin Contemplates Third-Party Presidential Run: Time is on His Side!"
15 Nov 2023, 07:23 PM
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According to Sen. Joe Manchin, there is ample time for him or another candidate to pursue a third-party bid for the presidency. Contrary to popular belief, the West Virginia Democrat does not think that an independent candidate would simply help reelect former President Donald Trump. 

In his first interview since announcing that he will not seek reelection to the U.S. Senate, Manchin was asked by "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell about his timeline for deciding whether he will run for president. 

"In most countries, elections are not held a year in advance like they are in America, where the next election begins the day after the last one," Manchin replied. "We often feel a sense of urgency, like it's now or never. But I believe there is plenty of time, especially if there is a movement in the middle and no primary. The process will essentially take place during the general election."

When O'Donnell directly asked if he plans to run for president, Manchin emphasized that it is "not about me."  

Manchin Considers Running as an Independent

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced last week that he will not seek reelection in his deeply red state. Instead, he plans to travel the country and gauge interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle. This decision all but guarantees that his seat will flip Republican in 2024, sparking speculation about the possibility of him running for higher office.

During an interview with O'Donnell, Manchin addressed concerns that running as a third-party candidate would help elect Trump. He dismissed this scenario, citing historical examples such as Ross Perot's impact on the 1992 election. Manchin also mentioned polls suggesting that a third-party candidate like Bobby Kennedy Jr. could potentially take votes away from Donald Trump and benefit Joe Biden.

"I've never been a spoiler in anything," Manchin emphasized. "I compete to win, and I'm going to work right now to try to win the middle back."

Manchin has long been involved with No Labels, a centrist organization that is exploring the possibility of an alternative "unity" presidential candidate in 2024. He believes that the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee have too much control over the political processes.

Senator Manchin Considers Joining Ticket with Republican Senator

The senator didn't directly answer whether he would consider joining a ticket with someone like his friend, who also announced his retirement this year. The two men, both outliers in their parties in many respects, formed a close bond in the Senate.

"The only thing that I would consider is how do I make my country better? How do we bring it together? And we just have to see where that goes," Manchin said.

The interviewer pointed out that didn't sound like a "no."

"I don't know how to tell you," Manchin said. "I — the movement has to be there where people have to realize how serious a situation we're in."

Asked if he and the other senator have discussed whether an independent candidate would end up helping elect Trump, Manchin responded, "Well, you can't help but talk about it because that's all you hear about in the press."

Like the other senator in the Republican Party, the West Virginia Democrat no longer feels entirely at home in the Democratic Party.

"I feel politically homeless," he said.

"I'm a Democrat," Manchin also said during the interview. "I'm … an American first. I'm an American. I'm an independent, I think. I don't know what I am. I can tell you this. I feel comfortable working with both sides."

Manchin's Stance on President Biden's Second Term

During a recent interview, Senator Manchin expressed his hesitation towards endorsing President Biden for a second term. When asked about his thoughts on Biden's re-election, Manchin replied, "I think that people make those choices. I can't make that choice."