Joe Manchin, senator from West Virginia, announced Friday that he will not run for president, noting that he did not want to be a “spoiler.”

“I will not seek a third party candidacy,” he said in a speech at West Virginia University. “I will not be involved in a presidential bid. I will be involved in making sure we get a president who has the knowledge, the passion and the ability to bring this country together.”

The speech was touted as part of a national tour Manchin announced when he decided not to seek another term in the Senate. He told the Morgantown audience that he had no interest in being “a deciding factor, so to speak, a spoiler, whatever you want to call it.”

“I just don’t think it’s the right time,” he explained.

The centrist Democrat, who often opposed his party’s leadership, was considering a run for president and had said he thought it would be clear in March whether there was a path to a third party candidate this year. In his speech he commented that he thought a third party bid might be viable at some point “but right now it’s really a challenge.”

This comes as No Labels, a national political movement that could offer an independent presidential bid in 2024, is identifying serious candidates to represent the group in the general election. Manchin was seen as a top pledge.

Manchin will not run for re-election to the Senate in 2024. His seat in a predominantly Republican state is expected to be an excellent opportunity for that party.

Manchin, the only Democrat to hold statewide office in West Virginia, has been at odds with members of his own party over his support for fossil fuels.

After Manchin announced last year that he would not run for re-election, he said he planned to travel the country “to see if there is interest in creating a movement to mobilize the media and unite Americans.”

In January he visited New Hampshire, an early presidential primary voting state. The senator is scheduled to speak in Arizona, a political battleground state, on Saturday.

Categorized in:

Tagged in: