Joe Manchin is considering running for governor against Republican Gov. Jim Justice in 2020, just five months after the race of his life.
In an interview on Thursday, the Democratic senator declared that he is once more “thinking about” running for the “greatest job in the world”—that of the governor of West Virginia.
“I consider it often throughout the day. Thinking about it and doing it are now two distinct activities, according to Manchin. I’ll decide this fall, at some point. There doesn’t seem to be any urgency at all.
Manchin narrowly defeated Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in his bid for reelection last year by three percentage points in a state that President Donald Trump won by 42 points in 2016. Manchin, who previously held the office of governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010, mostly depended on his grassroots campaigning, support from Democratic outside groups, and a track record of working across party lines to defeat Morrisey.
Given that Trump will be up for re-election, a gubernatorial campaign would be very different. No matter who runs against Justice, Manchin claimed, “it’s going to be very difficult for [Justice].”
There are obvious signs that Justice, a former Democrat who switched parties after being elected, and Manchin are getting ready for a potential run-off. Manchin has been under fire from Justice for his management of the state’s roadways, and in a news release, Justice grouped Manchin with “Washington leftists.” Manchin has said that the governor “won’t work” and that Justice’s resort, The Greenbrier, cannot be used to administer the state.
Even if Manchin lost, he would still be a senator. However, there would be severe political repercussions if he were to win. In West Virginia, which is overwhelmingly red, Manchin is usually seen as the only Democrat with a chance of winning a Senate seat. According to West Virginia law, if he won, he would be able to choose a replacement, but only until the subsequent regularly scheduled midterm election. The potential growth of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) caucus size in the future might be constrained as a result. Manchin claimed he hasn’t discussed his plans with Democratic leaders.
Then there’s the matter of whether Manchin wants to take part in a demanding campaign against the president for theeconomy the economy for the second time in a row. Compared to his Senate campaign, the election would likely attract less outside funding for Trump. If voters choose to cast separate ballots for Manchin and the president, they would be compelled to do so. Manchin was the leading candidate in 2018.
The centrist Democrat, though, asserted that he believes he has already escaped his closest encounter with electoral failure.
The most enjoyable aspect of politics is campaigning. Can’t get any worse than what I went through, an election in the off-year when they focused all their resources against you,” Manchin added.
In 2016, Manchin toyed with the idea of running for governor but eventually opted against it. This time, he’ll also need to think about what’s best for his state because Manchin is now the ranking senator on the committee overseeing energy policy.
He would serve as chairman in 2021 and have a significant influence over the agenda if Democrats regain the majority. Despite Manchin’s declaration that “Washington sucks,” he has grown in influence over his more than eight years in the Capitol.
“I like my job there. It increases my input a tiny bit. I believe we can try moving things once more. I believe we can improve the environment while also bridging the climate and the economy, Manchin stated.
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