As a recent poll shows more than half of voters are wanting new candidates to emerge in next year's presidential election, Sen. Joe Manchin appears to be considering entering the fray as a third-party candidate.
Earlier this month, Manchin announced he would not seek reelection in 2024 for his U.S. Senate seat, which has only fueled speculation over his plans for the White House. With a nearly evenly divided Senate the last three years, Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, has often been the deciding voice in the Senate on what legislation passes.
During an interview with conservative talk show host John Catsimatidis on WABC on Sunday, Manchin painted himself as someone caught between the two-party system.
"Washington is divided and Washington wants you and I to be divided and the rest of America to be divided because it's a better business model for them," Manchin said. "So I came to the conclusion I can't change. I've been here 13 years, I'm not gonna change it from within and I've decided to go around and see if I can mobilize the radical middle. Is that something? The radical, moderate, sensible, reasonable, middle, modern part of this country?"
Manchin said he is "scared to death" of the political climate that has caused "visceral hatred."
"Donald Trump has taken it to a level that he has normalized this, this visceral hatred. He wants to be elected again to use the office and weaponize it to be for revenge," Manchin told Catsimatidis. "And Joe Biden has been pulled so far to the left, the extreme left as far as liberal makes no sense at all. It's not the person we thought was gonna bring the country together."
Last week, Manchin told NBC's Kristin Welkerhe is "absolutely" considering a run for president.
"Every American should consider it if they're in a position to help save the country," he told Welker.
Polling suggests there would be an opportunity for Manchin. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found 52% of voters are wanting other candidates to enter the race, while 42% said they're satisfied with the current slate of candidates.
Manchin has previously expressed support for the No Labels movement. The group has said it would consider running a presidential candidate of its own if President Biden and former President Donald Trump become the 2024 nominees.
Manchin previously said at a forum that if he did run, it wouldn't be as a spoiler.
"I've never been in any race I've ever spoiled. I've been in races to win," he said.
Time could be of the essence for a third-party candidate like Manchin, even with No Labels being well-funded. Many states have rigorous guidelines for ballot access, which could make last-minute presidential bids difficult.
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