Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia commented on Thursday about his contemplation over becoming an independent. He expressed concerns about the perception of the Democratic brand in Washington, saying it has become "so bad."
"I have to have peace of mind. The perception of both the ‘D’ and ‘R’ brands is concerning," Manchin expressed to Hoppy Kercheval, the host of West Virginia Metro News' "Talkline."
"In our state, it's the national view of the ‘D’ brand that's problematic, not so much the local Democrats, but rather the ones in Washington."
— New York Post (@nypost) August 10, 2023
Manchin has faced questions about a potential party shift in the past, especially after opposing major parts of President Biden’s proposals like Build Back Better. While he hadn't previously confirmed it, he shared, "I would very seriously think about" the idea of becoming independent.
Being a significant figure in the West Virginia Democratic Party in a state that largely leans towards the GOP, if Manchin decides to campaign for reelection, he would be challenged by the West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice from the GOP. Despite often being at odds with President Biden, Manchin has faced criticism from Republicans for his support of the Inflation Reduction Act, which endorsed several progressive measures targeting climate change.
"I’ve been contemplating this for a while," Manchin stated. "Before deciding on my political future, I want to ensure my voice truly represents an independent perspective."
However, he reiterated his commitment to challenge "extremes" in both major political parties.
"When I voice my opinion, I aim to address the radical views within both the Democrat and Republican Parties that are detrimental to our country," he emphasized.
Recently, after not dismissing the notion of a third-party presidential run during a No Labels gathering in New Hampshire, speculation about Manchin's intentions grew.
In the radio discussion on Thursday, he countered the idea that such a move would be detrimental to President Biden, an issue that has been raised by some within the Democratic Party.
"I can't predict the outcomes, but I don't believe it would inherently favor one party over the other," he mentioned.
If Manchin decides to change his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent, he would follow the footsteps of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, who made a similar shift just 10 months ago.
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