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Joe Manchin announces he will not run for president

The centrist West Virginia Democrat had been mulling a bid for the White House that would have shaken up the 2024 campaign.
Sen. Joe Manchin speaks at a "Politics and Eggs" event, as part of his national listening tour, in Manchester, N.H., on Jan. 12.
Sen. Joe Manchin speaks at a "Politics and Eggs" event, as part of his national listening tour, in Manchester, N.H., on Jan. 12.Charles Krupa / AP

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced Friday that he is not running for president after spending months mulling a bid that would have shaken up the 2024 campaign.

"I will not be seeking a third-party run. I will not be involved in a presidential run," Manchin said during a speech. "I will be involved in making sure that we secure a president that has the knowledge and has the passion and has the ability to bring this country together."

Manchin said that a third party could be viable down the road, but that a bid this year would have been “very challenging.” He added that he didn't want to be a "deal-breaker" or a "spoiler."

"I just don’t think it’s the right time," Manchin said. "We’re on a real teetering situation here that could go either way. Democracy is at stake right now."

Manchin, 76, had said last November that he would not seek re-election to his Senate seat this year, leading to speculation that he would run for the White House as an independent or as a third-party candidate.

Democrats feared a Manchin candidacy would have pulled votes away from President Joe Biden and boost former President Donald Trump, the 2024 Republican frontrunner, in a general election.

Manchin told reporters after his speech Friday that he spoke with Biden before he made his announcement, calling their conversation "very, very respectful."

The centrist senator had been publicly refusing to rule out a White House bid as recently as Thursday, when floated Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and former Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, as potential running mates.

Manchin also appeared at events over the past few months hosted by No Labels, the political group trying to mount a bipartisan, third-party presidential campaign. He told reporters that he wished the group well, but that he didn't think joining their ticket was the "proper course" for him.

In a statement following Manchin's announcement, former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and civil rights leader Benjamin Chavis Jr., the national co-chairs of No Labels, said they were speaking with "several exceptional leaders" about a possible presidential ticket.

Manchin said he planned to eventually endorse a candidate for president. He also didn't rule out leaving the Democratic Party, but said he wants to try to fix it first.

"I would like to think you can save your family," Manchin said. "Or you can save your party that you were raised in."

As a Democrat representing a red state, Manchin has long been vocally critical of both major parties and the political system as a whole, a note he struck once again during his speech to about 80 attendees on Friday.

"I am convinced you can’t fix it from Washington. I’ve tried for 14 years and I saw break last week,” Manchin said, referring the the failed bipartisan border bill.

CORRECTION (Feb. 16, 2024, 7:34 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of a national co-chair of No Labels. He is Joe Lieberman, not Liberman.