POLITICO’s Huddle reports this morning that U. S. Senator Joe Manchin has not ruled out running for President. The story by Scott Wong is below.
By Scott Wong (firstname.lastname@example.org or @scottwongDC)
IF HILLARY PASSES, MANCHIN FOR PRESIDENT? – Sen. Joe Manchin says a 2016 presidential run is “low on the totem pole,” but he’s not exactly ruling it out.
The West Virginia Democrat, a frequent critic of President Obama and perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the upper chamber, has already endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016. But if the former secretary of State takes a pass, expect to hear more about the former Mountain State governor – especially with former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, another possible ’16 hopeful from a red state, making some off-color remarks about gays and prostitutes.
Some Twitter accounts have popped up in the past week with the handles @NH4JoeManchin and @Iowa4JoeManchin – though he hasn’t made trips to those early primary states. @DraftJoeManchin recently tweeted: “We think that Joe Manchin is the most gifted leader and the most unifying leader we could elect as our next President.”
“It’s very flattering. The bottom line is people are searching for somebody who’s willing to fix things rather than talk about them,” Manchin told your Huddle host on Tuesday. “It’s something I haven’t given an awful lot of thought about. I’ve been working hard trying to get [the Senate] to work. It’s a shame. It really is a shame. It’s a great country, and we have a lot of good people here, but somehow politics has trumped policy.
Told that Manchin’s politics would probably be too conservative to win his party’s nomination, he replied: “My politics are about as middle of the road and American as you can get. I keep saying I’m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate, and I think most Americans are.”
A more likely scenario is that Manchin — frustrated with Senate gridlock — will run for the governor’s mansion again in 2016. But is a presidential bid completely off the table? “I would think it’s low on the totem pole,” he said.
Those who’ve worked closely with Manchin say he’s a talented politician who is beloved in his home state, even if he’s far from a household name on a national level.
“I don’t speak for Sen. Manchin, but if Secretary Clinton decides not to run the field will be as wide open as the Grand Canyon,” said Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis, who served as Manchin’s first chief of staff in his Senate office. “At that point, with his retail politicking skills, Manchin could make a real run against more mortal and less seasoned politicians.
“If she runs,” Kofinis added, “it’s almost impossible to see the realistic path how anyone on the Dem side beats her in a primary.”