Joe Manchin Registers as Independent, Leaving Senate Future Uncertain

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia - AP

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a moderate Democrat, announced his decision to register as an independent on Friday. Last year, Manchin declared he would not seek reelection in the heavily Republican state, giving Republicans a chance to win his Senate seat. His switch to an independent status adds new questions about his political future.

Manchin cited the dysfunction in national politics and the lack of compromise from both parties as reasons for his decision. He emphasized his commitment to putting the country above party affiliation. “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 stated.

If Manchin chooses to run for Senate or governor, he must file a statement of candidacy and gather around 8,000 signatures by August 1 to qualify for the ballot.

In March, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested Manchin run for reelection as an independent. Manchin dismissed the idea as highly unlikely, but did not entirely rule it out, stating, “I don’t know if anything in Washington, DC, is 100%.”

A spokesperson for Manchin confirmed that he will continue to caucus with Senate Democrats. Other senators registered as independents who caucus with Democrats include Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Angus King of Maine, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. 

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