Joe Manchin says he won’t decide on 2024 until ‘the end of the year’

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said that he won’t make a decision on whether to run for re-election — or even president — “until the end of the year” in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday.

Manchin, a centrist Democrat who has repeatedly bucked his party on a number of key issues, is up for re-election next year and he has remained tight-lipped about whether he will run again for Senate in his overwhelmingly Republican-leaning home state or launch a bid for the White House.

“My filing date is Jan. 15 in 2024, and I will make my decision maybe a little bit before that — but not until the end of the year, I can assure you,” he said on Sunday.

Asked by host Chuck Todd if he would run as a Democrat next year, Manchin sidestepped, saying, “The party identification is not going to change me. Democrat, Republican. I mean, having a D and R should not change you as a person. I’m going to still fight for the things I do. Can’t I be a moderate centrist with whatever identification, or no identification? I would think.”

He responded to his comments in a Washington Post report published Sunday about the potential for a third-party bid: “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. … I’m going to do whatever I can to have a voice in that middle.”

“I’m going to do whatever I can to have a voice in that middle that we can basically force both sides and say, ‘Wait a minute, you’ve gone to extremes, you’ve got to start coming back,’” he added. “You’ve got to find ways to solve problems. You can’t solve them from the extreme right and extreme left. You can’t make people make you pick a side.”

The West Virginia Senate race is a top target for Republicans looking to flip a seat. So far, there are two candidates on the GOP side — Rep. Alex Mooney and coal miner Chris Rose — although many are waiting to see if GOP Gov. Jim Justice jumps in.

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