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Going it alone

POLITICS | Sen. Joe Manchin’s switch to independent party affiliation could presage another run for office

Joe Manchin Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Image

Going it alone
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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia since 2010, announced in November he would not seek reelection at the end of his term, prompting speculation that the longtime Mountain State politician might call it a career. But a recent change in party affiliation may indicate he’s planning a political rebirth.

“We need to come together as a country, making sure both parties have the opportunity to bring the best ideas forward to fix the problems that we all face,” Manchin said in a June 3 press release. “I can be more effective as an independent than by having a D or an R next to my name and I look forward to working with you all to fix the broken system that the political parties have taken control of.”

Manchin has held office in West Virginia as a state delegate, state senator, governor, and U.S. senator. When he became a delegate in 1982, West Virginia was largely Democratic. It voted for GOP presidential candidates only twice from 1960 to 1997.

But during the 2022 midterm elections, 39 percent of the state’s 1.1 million registered voters were Republicans, compared with 33 percent who identified as Democrats. Republicans have carried the state in every presidential contest since 2000. The rightward shift reduced the likelihood that Manchin would reliably retake his Senate seat as a Democrat in the upcoming elections.

Although Manchin hasn’t shared his intentions, his move to independent could indicate a change of mind and a plan to run for his seat as an alternative to the Republican nominee, current Gov. Jim Justice, and Democrat Glenn Elliott. It could also indicate a move to retake his old job as governor. Manchin, known for his centrist views, declined to run as a third-party presidential candidate this year but said he’s not “closing any doors” to his political future.

Paul Sancya/AP

Spinning a conviction into gold

If former President Donald Trump’s May 30 conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in New York harmed his image, his supporters don’t seem to care. In a press release the day after the verdict, the Trump campaign’s website announced it had raised $34.8 million in six hours.

“Not only was the amount historic, but 29.7% of yesterday’s donors were brand new donors to the WinRed platform,” Trump senior campaign advisers wrote. “President Trump and our campaign are immensely grateful for this outpouring of support from patriots across our country.”

Many of the donations went to Trump’s main political action committee, Make America Great Again Inc. The former president has previously seen donation boosts following his criminal indictments.

Trump and Republican leaders announced a $141 million donation haul in May alone. President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised roughly the same amount between March and April. —L.B.

Leo Briceno

Leo is a WORLD politics reporter based in Washington, D.C. He’s a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and has a degree in political journalism from Patrick Henry College.



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