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Joe Manchin departs a Senate Democratic Caucus policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol
Joe Manchin departs a Senate Democratic Caucus policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol, on Nov. 29, 2022. Francis Chung / POLITICO via AP file

Manchin on a potential party switch: 'I can’t tell you what the future is going to bring'

The senator, who has served as a check on some of his party’s more progressive ideas, wouldn't close door on switch after Sinema move.

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Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s decision to leave the Democratic Party and register as an independent is bringing another centrist into focus: Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.V. 

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Manchin said he wasn’t aware of Sinema’s decision ahead of time, but he respects it. 

“And I can tell you that people in the United States are very upset. West Virginia is upset. They don’t like the bickering that goes on. They want unity. They want us to work together and that’s what I try to do every day,” he added, making note of the rise in registered independents throughout the country.

“I don’t know how you get more independent than I am,” Manchin said, touting his record and public disputes with Democrats over key issues in recent years. 

Pressed multiple times if he would consider leaving the Democratic Party, Manchin was not definitive.

“I’ve always looked at all those things, but I have no intention of doing anything right now. And whether I do something later, I can’t tell you what the future is going to bring,” he said, leaving the door open.

Manchin, who won’t reveal his 2024 plans, said “I don’t know” when asked by NBC News whether running as an independent in a state Donald Trump easily carried would be easier.

“I really couldn’t tell you that. I guess you’d have to — maybe you can all poll that and let me know.”

If he runs for re-election, Manchin will face a crowded Republican field in a state where he is currently the only state-wide elected Democrat.