Speculation grows about Manchin as possible third-party candidate

 April 9, 2023

As President Joe Biden continues to delay the expected launch of his 2024 re-election campaign, speculation has once again heated up that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is seriously weighing the notion of mounting a third party bid to threaten his grip on the White House rather than seeking another term in the upper chamber, as Just the News reports.

Further stoking those rumors are reports that Manchin has been wooing a number of high-dollar political donors he would presumably need in order to stand a chance of peeling voters away from Biden's assumed tally.

Manchin courts donors

Just the News noted that Manchin is indeed making moves in terms of surveying the funding landscape for a possible 2024 run as a third-party alternative.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an adviser to a number of high-level Republican donors explained Manchin's likely thought process at present.

“Joe Biden has gone so far to the left. And sometimes it seems like Sen. Manchin is all alone in the Senate, except when [Sen.] Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) occasionally joins him,” the source said.

“But really there are five to seven other Democrats who feel just like him,” the adviser continued.

“Next best thing”

Noting that Manchin has often been the subject of rumors that he might change party affiliation out of frustration with the far-left trajectory of the Democrat Party, the adviser opined that the lawmaker might instead decide to forge his own path.

“There are a number of conservatives who have spent time with Sen. Manchin. They were actually hoping he would switch to the Republican Party,” the insider continued.

“Now the Senator hasn't said this, but it's been suggested by others that he might have [become a Republican] if Mitch McConnell wasn't the GOP leader,” the adviser went on.

Given that McConnell shows no signs of departing his perch of power, the source declared, “[a]n independent run might be the next best thing.”

Keeping his powder dry

As Politico noted last month, Manchin appears to be in no urgent rush to declare his intentions, and “is also pointedly refusing to rule out a presidential run on a third-party ticket.”

“That gives him roughly nine more months to keep Washington guessing,” the outlet added. “In the meantime, he'll keep exerting his political leverage, at least until he runs and Republicans start to limit his opportunities, or a retirement announcement saps his Senate sway.”

During a recent appearance on Meet the Press, Manchin made no bold declarations, but also kept his options wide open, saying, “When you're asking me what I'm going to do and what my political ambitions would be, it's to make the country work together and be a United States and not the divided states.”

As Just the News noted, Manchin recently told the Washington Post, “If enough Americans believe there is an option and the option is a threat to the extreme left and the extreme right, it will be the greatest contribution to democracy, I believe,” and whether that is indeed the fledgling basis of an emergent third-party campaign, only time will tell.

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