Joe Manchin faces pressure for 11th-hour run to secure critical seat for Democrats

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West Virginia Democrats sought to push back on rumors this week that outgoing Sen. Joe Manchin, who was expected to retire, might be mounting a surprise campaign for governor.

The conjecture intensified after Manchin was reportedly bombarded by people urging him to run at an event at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, according to WVMetroNews. The Greenbrier is notably owned by the state’s current governor, Democrat-turned-Republican Jim Justice, who is term-limited and now is the GOP’s Senate nominee to replace Manchin.

“The talk about the possibility of Joe Manchin running for West Virginia governor again is real,” wrote Hoppy Kercheval, a news anchor and one of the state’s most recognizable media figures.

Any Manchin run would be complicated by the fact the state’s primaries have already ended, with Huntington Mayor Steve Williams the current Democratic nominee.


The senator also only has a few days to make any decision, according to state officials who contradicted reports Manchin would have to take Williams’ place as the Democratic nominee — or be able to run against the mayor of the state’s second-largest city.

Manchin, who previously served as governor from 2005 to 2010 before winning the seat of the deceased Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., would have to leave the Democratic Party to do so, an official in the West Virginia secretary of state’s office told Fox News Digital.

The official said it is too late for Manchin to run as either a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or member of the state’s Mountain Party — and that the deadline is essentially June 1 for anyone else seeking office this year.

Unaffiliated candidates are able to gain ballot access for the November election by gathering signatures from any party’s voters and filing them along with a certificate of announcement by Aug. 1. But, the candidate may not have been a member of a recognized party within 60 days of that filing, which would be June 1, at the latest.


West Virginia

Attempts to reach West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Matt Herridge on the matter were unsuccessful, but in comments to WVMetroNews, Herridge said the party is “united squarely behind” the Republican gubernatorial nominee, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

However, state Del. Mike Pushkin — the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party — rejected any claims Manchin is going to launch a surprise bid and instead said much of the conjecture comes from Republicans unhappy with Morrisey as their nominee.

“Over two-thirds of Republicans voted for somebody else,” he said of the GOP gubernatorial primary between Morrisey, who positioned himself to the right of the other major GOP candidate, state Del. Moore Capito — the son of Manchin’s colleague Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V. 

“Sen. Manchin isn’t running. We have a nominee who is Mayor Steve Williams and I think when some of our Republican friends and independent friends take a look at Williams’ record, there will be a lot to support,” Pushkin said.

Pushkin said despite political headwinds, he is confident Williams is the right nominee, irrespective of pressure on the more-recognizable Manchin. He said Huntington was bankrupt and police were underpaid until Williams was elected, adding that the mayor also did not raise taxes.

With Manchin retiring from the Senate either way, Pushkin said the senator’s potential Democratic successor, Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott, also has a “great story to tell” about his time as mayor of the city just west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and tenure working for Byrd.

In response to the news, an official with the Republican Governors Association said Republican voters spoke loud and clear in selecting Morrisey as the nominee.

“There is only one conservative candidate on the ballot who will stand up to the Biden administration’s disastrous agenda and deliver results for West Virginia families and no amount of wish-casting by anonymous sources will change that,” said RGA national press secretary Courtney Alexander.

Manchin’s office did not respond to multiple attempts to procure comment.


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