Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced Thursday he would not seek re-election to the Senate.
“When America is at her best, we get things done by putting country before party, working across the aisle, and finding common ground. Many times this approach has landed me in hot water, but the fight to unite has been well worth it,” he said in a video posted on X.
“After months of deliberation and long conversation with my family, I believe in my heart of hearts that I’ve accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia. I’ve made one of the toughest decisions of my life and decided that I will not be running for re-election to the United States Senate,” he added.
Manchin said he would instead be focusing on traveling the country to gauge “interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together,” appearing to reference a possible third-party presidential run.
“To the West Virginians who have put their trust in me and fought side by side to make our state better – it has been an honor of my life to serve you. Thank you,” he said.
He went on to lament the “divide” between Democrats and Republicans across the country, and that Americans were “just plain worn out” by the partisanship. He argued that Americans shared common values of “family, freedom, democracy, dignity and a belief that together we can overcome any challenge.”
“May God bless America, the great state of West Virginia, and each and every one of you,” he concluded.
Ranked by one nonprofit as the most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate, Manchin’s centrism and often tense relationship with his own party has fueled speculation he could be considering becoming an independent, as well as a third-party candidate for president.
He attended a “No Labels” event in New Hampshire over the summer, causing some fellow Democrats to worry he might mount a “spoiler” campaign reminiscent of late Texas industrialist Ross Perot in 1992.c
At the time, he told reporters his participation at the event was not a formal indication of third-party intentions. However, he later added that he’s “never ruled out anything or [ruled] in anything… this is strictly a conference we’re having.”
Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind and Charles Creitz contributed to this report.