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Joe Manchin at the U.S. Capitol
Joe Manchin at the U.S. Capitol, on Feb. 14, 2023.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

Eyes on 2024: Manchin watch continues

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is skipping a White House event marking the anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act.

By and

West Virginia is a top target next year for Senate Republicans looking to take control of the chamber, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is once again in the headlines as he weighs running for another term or for president. 

Manchin will not attend next week’s anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act at the White House, despite playing a central role in its passage, NBC News’ Mike Memoli and Julie Tsirkin exclusively report. 

His decision to skip the event “is just the latest sign of an increasingly fraught relationship between Manchin, a conservative Democrat, and the Biden administration,” Memoli and Tsirkin write, also noting that Manchin has often distanced himself from President Joe Biden. 

The West Virginia Democrat on Thursday floated leaving his party to become an independent, telling a West Virginia radio station that he has “absolutely” thought about it. “I’m thinking seriously what’s best for me, I have to have peace of mind basically,” he said, per Tsirkin.

Manchin’s comments came as he has not ruled out launching a third-party bid for president as part of the No Labels effort to provide an alternative to Biden and former President Donald Trump. On Thursday, the group notched a victory in Arizona, where a judge granted the group access to the ballot

In other campaign news … 

A special interview: President Joe Biden’s attorneys are negotiating with the special counsel investigating his handling of classified documents about the ground rules for a potential interview with the president, NBC News’ Monica Alba and Carol E. Lee report.  

Drone zone: DeSantis told voters in Iowa Thursday that he would be open to drone strikes against Mexican cartels, NBC News’ Alex Tabet reports

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa: Iowa’s Democratic Party Chair, Rita Hart, told Iowa PBS she won’t “commit” to holding the Democratic presidential caucus on the same day Republicans have selected, Jan. 15, 2024. Meanwhile, The New York Times has a deep dive into how the state Democratic Party is at “their lowest point in decades.”

If you ain’t (in the) first (debate), you’re last: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told Fox News that he believes any GOP presidential candidate who can’t meet the criteria for the first GOP debate should drop out.   

Livin’ on a prayer: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” he’s “over halfway” to meeting the Republican National Committee’s threshold of donors needed to make the first GOP presidential debate. 

Shopping around: CNBC’s Brian Schwartz reports that at least two former Trump administration officials, including former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, attended a Hamptons fundraiser for South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s presidential bid

FEC considers deep fake ban: The Federal Election Commission is asking for public comment as it considers banning deep fakes in political ads, Roll Call reports.

Hail to the candidates: The Messenger reports that former Detroit Police Chief James Craig is “probably 99% certain” he will run for Senate as a Republican in Michigan.

Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to run for Congress: Semafor reports that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is considering running for Congress in a Democratic primary challenge against New York Rep. Jerry Nadler