West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, one of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s strongest allies in the U.S. Senate, will not run for reelection in 2024. The deeply Republican state will most likely elect a Republican to the seat next year, adding one more voice to the conservative side of the aisle. The current balance is 51 Democrat, 49 Republican.
Manchin has been, in a view shared by many observers, the Democrats’ version of Sen. Murkowski. While Murkowski is nearly a Democrat in many of her votes and has been known as the definition of “Republican in Name Only,” Manchin has been nearly a Republican, supporting oil and gas in Alaska, much to the frustration of his party. Both are unreliable votes for their respective teams, but are best of friends in the Senate.
But Manchin may not be done. On social media on Thursday he said he would begin to travel the country and “see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle.” Manchin may be working on a run for president in a third-party. He has been aligned with the No Labels Party.
Democrats have 23 seats on the ballot in 2024, many in red-leaning states, such as Ohio and Montana. They face a difficult challenge keeping control of the Senate after next year’s election.