West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Machin said Wednesday that he would “absolutely” consider running for U.S. president, less than a week after announcing his upcoming departure from Congress next year.
Manchin, who has lamented about the level of nationwide division over the last several months and expressed woes over the Democratic Party, told NBC he would consider joining the race for the White House if that meant helping the United States.
“Every American should consider it if they’re in a position to help save the country,” Manchin said.
Manchin has served in public office in West Virginia since the early 1980s, including as governor, a member of the House of Delegates, and the state Senate. Throughout his political career, he has often called himself a “centrist, moderate, conservative Democrat.”
In recent months, however, Manchin revealed he would “think very seriously” about a break with the Democratic Party, noting that the political climate across the U.S. has left commonsense Americans “politically homeless.”
Amid the chaos, Manchin has since hinted at being open to launching a third-party campaign for the White House in 2024 — and there has been speculation that he and former Utah Republican Governor John Huntsman could team up after they appeared together for a No Labels town hall in July.
No Labels released a statement on Thursday praising Manchin as a “great leader” in the Senate and an ally. The group also said it is still “gathering input” for a possible “Unity” presidential ticket and plans to decide by early 2024.
But before making the announcement official, the West Virginia congressman noted he would first explore whether voters would consider a “moderate” candidate.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to mobilize that moderate, sensible, commonsense middle,” he said during the NBC interview on Wednesday, also mentioning his fear about a potential second Trump administration.
“I’m totally, absolutely scared to death that Donald Trump would become president again,” he said. “I think we will lose democracy as we know it.”
Manchin’s comments come after making “one of the toughest decisions” of his life last week when he announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate in 2024, leaving the door open to a potential run for the White House.
The lawmaker revealed his decision with a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, in which Manchin said he believed he “accomplished” what he set out to do for West Virginia.
“But what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there’s an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together,” he added.
Rumors of a Manchin presidency have already received pushback from at least one of his colleagues.
Maryland Democratic Governor Wes Moore — a rising star and top surrogate for President Biden’s re-election effort — implored Manchin earlier this week not to challenge Biden in the 2024 election.
Beyond the GOP primary, other candidates are campaigning for a shot at the presidency. They include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., left-wing activist Cornel West — both running as independents — and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Daniel Chaitin contributed to this report.