Joe Manchin says he hasn’t made a decision to run again



CNN

Senator Joe Manchin has used his power more than any other senator in the 50-50 Senate, but whether he wants to do it for another six years is still in doubt.

The moderate Democrat from West Virginia told CNN Thursday that he is undecided whether he wants to run for another term in 2024, which would certainly be a top GOP target given his state’s conservative leanings.

“I haven’t made a decision on that,” Manchin, 75, said. “I’m looking for 2022. I’m going to see how this election goes and where we are and what we can do, what we can achieve. done.”

Manchin, a former governor, state legislator and college football player, added that he’s not overly concerned about losing what would almost certainly be a bruising race in a state that former President Donald Trump won by nearly 40 points two years ago.

“If they beat me, I’ll go home,” he said. “That is my consolation.”

And he added about the seat he has had for a dozen years: “This is not the best job in the world. I assure you that I have had better jobs.’

When Manchin helped ensure President Joe Biden’s sweeping Build Back Better bill went down to defeat in this Congress and stood firm against relentless Democratic calls to pass voting rights legislation and other bills, the GOP won enormous praise and became enemies. the left But after cutting a deal with Biden this summer to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, a major bill to pour hundreds of billions into energy programs, give more power to the federal government and raise taxes on big corporations, Republicans significantly changed.

“He hurt a lot (his credibility among Republicans) because he gave up so easily for so little,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, said Thursday. “I think more than anything it was a reflection of a lack of judgment that surprised a lot of people.”

In a political comeback, Republicans opposed efforts to pass legislation to streamline the permitting process for major energy projects, including a pipeline in their state, even though many in the GOP support the idea of ​​speeding up the environmental review process. wants to make invoices. Manchin cut a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer while negotiating the Inflation Relief Act and hoped to attach it to a government funding bill that passed the Senate on Thursday. But Republicans rejected the effort, largely because it came on the heels of Manchin’s bid.

“There’s no question the dynamic of how this played out — the way it was worked out between the two people — really rubbed a lot of people, really on both sides, the wrong way,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune, adding that “substantive” policy concerns about Manchin’s plan also

Back home, some Republicans have been opposing him for two years now; including Rep. Alex Mooney, R-West Virginia, who cut an ad attacking Manchin for his vote on the Cut Inflation Act.

“That’s a post-November decision,” Mooney told CNN when asked about Manchin’s seat.

Other senators also face tough choices after November.

Sen. Jon Tester, Democrat of the red state of Montana, said in an interview Thursday that he would decide whether to run for a fourth term by January.

He said he’s not worried about a tough race in a state Trump won by 16 points.

“I worry about staying here until I’m 70 or 74,” said Tester, who is 66.

For Manchin, his record will be scrutinized if he decides to run again. In interviews this week, Manchin defended his handling of major issues this year and was fair with Republicans that if he found a deal he believed was beneficial to his state, he would accept it.

“They were happy with the BBB, to get rid of that,” Manchin said, referring to his opposition to Biden’s Build Back Better plan. “They were happy to defend the living daylights out of the filibuster, taking every field you could. So I understand, and when things don’t (work), people get upset about it, things are said. We’re all friends, but you know what? We agree. Tomorrow will be another day.’

Manchin said he’s not worried about the political fallout from voting for the SCA.

“I never worry about that,” Manchin said. “If I said, ‘Oh, well, it’s going to hurt me’ — I’m not here for that reason. It’s not who I am. … If for whatever reason you think it hurts your politics, but you know you did the right thing, that’s a pretty good night. Go home and sleep.” you can do it.”

Manchin, who is filling the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest-serving senator in history, said he is acutely aware of how the tide can often turn in a friendly body.

“I’ve been around enough where you can be a hero one night and a villain the next morning,” Manchin said. “I understand that.”