Amid self-driven speculation that he would resign from the U.S. Senate and run for governor in 2016, Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced on CBS’ Sunday morning show, “Face the Nation”, that he will pass on a third run for the Mountaineer state’s chief executive office. Manchin was governor of West Virginia from 2005-2010, winning gubernatorial elections in 2004 and 2008, before running in a special election for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat in 2010. Instead, Manchin said that he plans to seek re-election in the Senate in 2018.
One of the last “blue dog” Democrats remaining in Washington, Manchin has been critical of his party’s leaders including President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Only a few weeks ago he said publicly that it was “about a 50-50 toss up”, whether he would run for governor again, and even went as far as to commission his own poll of West Virginia voters to determine his chances in a hypothetical match-up with other gubernatorial contenders. But now that Harry Reid has announced he will be retiring at the end of the year, Manchin has an opportunity to take more of a leadership role amongst Senate Democrats. He admits as much, and even went as far as to criticize the Senate minority leader this morning on MSNBC:
“His leadership and the things he thought would work did not. So with that, you just move on.” Adding, “Me walking away, I think, would be much worse when I have a chance to make a difference.”
Manchin said his top priority now is to end “drug abuse”, which he says is “killing families…is killing America, and definitely the number one killer in West Virginia.” He has introduced two bills in the Senate to combat prescription drug addiction by limiting FDA approval of “lethal” and “powerful” medicines.
[Charleston Daily Mail] [Huffington Post]