Sen. Joe Manchin will leave the Democrat Party and register as an independent.

“My commitment to do everything I can to bring our country together has led me to register as an independent with no party affiliation,” Manchin said Friday.

According to POLITICO, it’s a move “that is sure to stoke speculation he could run for Senate or governor without a party affiliation this fall.”

“Let’s work together to fix America. Don’t hate the other side. There’s only one side – the American side – and we have to work together to save our country. That’s why I changed my party registration to no party affiliation,” Manchin said.


POLITICO reports:

A longtime Democrat, Manchin’s decision comes ahead of a deadline for filing as an independent in West Virginia. He’ll have several more weeks to decide whether to run for his Senate seat or mount a bid for his old job as governor.

The move is no guarantee he will run for either office, however.

Manchin previously announced he would not run for reelection, a move that essentially ceded his seat to Republicans. But Democrats have held out hope he’d make a last-minute decision to run as an independent, and Friday’s move is sure to increase pressure on him to do so. Gov. Jim Justice, a Manchin rival, won the GOP primary and is heavily favored in November.

State Republicans are divided after a fierce primary in the governor’s race, which Attorney General Patrick Morrisey won. Manchin defeated Morrisey in the 2018 Senate race. Manchin is friends with the Democratic nominee Steve Williams, but he would likely be a more viable general election candidate.

Manchin’s decision makes him the fourth independent in the Senate.

“Today, our national politics are broken and neither party is willing to compromise to find common ground. To stay true to myself and remain committed to put country before party, I have decided to register as an independent with no party affiliation and continue to fight for America’s sensible majority,” Manchin said, according to Fox News.

Per Fox News:

The West Virginia MetroNews report quoted sources “close” to the senator who said at least 20 Republicans “with financial resources” have encouraged Manchin to run for governor.

Since that report was published, Manchin was reportedly bombarded by people urging him to run at an event at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, according to WVMetroNews. The Greenbrier is notably owned by the state’s current governor, Democrat-turned-Republican Jim Justice, who is term-limited and now is the GOP’s Senate nominee to replace Manchin.

“The talk about the possibility of Joe Manchin running for West Virginia governor again is real,” wrote Hoppy Kercheval, a news anchor and one of the state’s most recognizable media figures.

The Democratic primary is over and Manchin could not run for governor as a Democrat. But his sudden and unexpected decision to become an independent opens the door for a bid for governor’s mansion, or even a re-election effort for Senate.

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