West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who announced earlier this month that he would not run for reelection in 2024, said there would be “plenty of time” for a third-party candidate to launch a 2024 bid for the White House.
In an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell, Manchin also said if he does decide to run for president, he does not believe that a 3rd-party candidate would help Donald Trump in the General Election.
The West Virginia Democrat said America is the only country where the next election begins “the day after the last elections.” He noted that other countries don’t have an election season “a year ahead of time,” and explained that there is still “plenty of time,” particularly for a “movement in the middle” that does not hold primaries.
When asked directly if he plans to run for president, Manchin dodged the question, telling O’Donnell that it wasn’t about him.
When announcing his retirement from the Senate, Manchin said he planned to travel the country “to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle.”
O’Donnell suggested that some are concerned that a third-party run would only help elect Donald Trump if he is the GOP nominee. However, Manchin disagreed.
He noted recent polling that showed Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s third-party run appears to be helping Joe Biden, with Kennedy drawing more support from Trump voters than Biden voters.
Manchin insisted that he has “never been a spoiler” but instead tries to “compete to win.” He said what he plans to do now is to “try to win the middle back.”
For years, Manchin has been involved with the centrist group No Labels, which this year has been seeking an alternative presidential candidate in 2024 if the GOP nominee is Donald Trump. The group has floated a possible 2024 “unity” ticket featuring Manchin and a moderate Republican like former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan or Utah Senator Mitt Romney.
When asked if he would consider running with his close friend Senator Romney, Manchin said the only thing he would consider is how he could bring the country together and make it better.