West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said he is “thinking seriously” about leaving the Democratic Party and going independent ahead of the 2024 election.
Manchin has previously asserted that he will win if he enters the 2024 presidential race as a third-party candidate.
Speaking to West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval on Thursday, Manchin said that the Democratic brand has “become so bad,” according to a report from The Hill.
“I’m thinking seriously,” Manchin said of leaving the party. “For me, I have to have peace of mind, basically. The brand has become so bad — the D brand and R brand. In West Virginia, the D brand because it’s [the] national brand. It’s not the Democrats in West Virginia, it’s the Democrats in Washington.”
“You’ve heard me say a million times I’m not a Washington Democrat,” he continued.
When asked by Kercheval is he would go independent, Manchin said, “I would think very seriously about that.”
“I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time,” Manchin told the host.” I haven’t made any decisions whatsoever on any of my political direction. I want to make sure that my voice is truly an independent voice. When I do speak, I want to be able to speak honestly about basically the extremes of the Democrat and Republican Party that’s harming our nation.”
“When I get ready to make a decision, I’ll come see you,” the senator told Kercheval.
Manchin explained that he believes both parties have gone off the rails and that a third party run could help restore some normalcy to both.
“We could make a big, big splash, and maybe bring the traditional parties of the Democratic and Republican Party [to] what they used to be, back to what they should be today,” he said.
Manchin said that he will decide by the end of the year if he will run for a fourth senate term, or run for president as an independent with the group “No Labels.”
No Labels is a centrist political organization considering running a third-party “unity ticket” in the 2024 presidential election. The organization has said that they plan to announce whether or not they will run a ticket by Super Tuesday next year, but has also said that they do not intend to run spoilers — something which Democrats have been consistently worried about with the organization.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is running for Manchin’s seat, and is currently polling 22 percentage points ahead of the incumbent. Rep. Alex Mooney is also running for the seat in the Republican primary.
Former President Donald Trump won West Virginia with 68 percent of the vote in 2016.