Joe Manchin will not run for re-election

West Virginia Sen. Moderate Democrats announced on social media Thursday that Joe Manchin will not seek re-election in 2024, a blow to his party’s chances of controlling the Senate in next year’s election.

“After months of counseling and long conversations with my family, I believe in my heart that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia,” Manchin said in a message posted on social media. “I have made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and I have decided that I will not seek re-election to the United States Senate.”

The Democratic caucus controls the chamber by a narrow margin of 51-49, and Manchin’s decision not to seek re-election in such a deep red state puts Democrats in a tough spot as they defend seats in other contested states.

Montana Sen., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Caucus. Steve Daines released a statement minutes after Manchin’s announcement, saying, “We like our odds in West Virginia.”

Manchin made it clear in his announcement Thursday that he is not leaving politics.

“But what I will do is travel around the country and speak and see if there’s interest in building a movement to mobilize the middle class and bring Americans together,” he said.

It’s unclear what Manchin will do specifically after leaving Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, he fueled speculation about a third-party presidential campaign when he spoke at a No Labels forum at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.

“I’ve never been in any race where I’ve been spoiled. I race to win” Manchin said at the time in July. “If I’m in a race, I’m going to win.”

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Throughout his time in Washington, Manchin has found himself at odds with members of his own party, both inside and outside the Capitol. Despite helping the president secure some key legislative victories in the first half of his presidency, Senator Joe Biden has also been an outspoken critic, particularly on issues of the environment, energy and the economy.

As a moderate, Manchin has worked for compromise with Republicans across the aisle and rejected extremism, which he mentioned in his announcement.

“Every stimulus in Washington is designed to radicalize our politics,” he said. “The growing divide between Democrats and Republicans is crippling Congress and making our country’s problems worse. The majority of Americans are simply fed up.

Manchin, a former governor of West Virginia, was first elected to the Senate in 2010.

This story has been updated with additional updates.

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