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WVU political expert explains impact of Joe Manchin not running for re-election

Senator Joe Manchin announced he will not run for re-election in 2024, impacting politics in West Virginia and nationally.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced that he would not seek re-election in 2024, after over a decade in office. This decision has significant implications for both West Virginia and national politics.

The Director of Policy Research and Public Affairs at West Virginia University, Samuel Workman, discussed the impact of Manchin's decision. He explained that Democrats will no longer hold major statewide offices in West Virginia, marking the end of an era. Additionally, the path for national Democrats to retain control of the Senate becomes more challenging without Manchin's seat. Workman anticipates a battle between the governor and Representative Mooney for the Senate seat.

On a national level, Democrats are now defending more seats than Republicans and will need to pick off some Republicans to maintain control of the U.S. Senate. With Manchin not seeking re-election, it is likely that Republicans will command a majority in the Senate, potentially stalling Democratic initiatives.

Manchin's decision also raises questions about his future political endeavors. Workman suggested that Manchin may be considering a run as a third-party candidate, appealing to disaffected Americans in the middle. However, historically, third-party candidates face significant challenges in winning the presidency.

In terms of federal funding for West Virginia, Workman noted that Senator Capito, who has moved up the ranks in the Republican party, will now be the state's senior senator. This shift will impact the state's ability to secure federal funding and initiatives, as it takes time for new senators to establish themselves and spearhead initiatives.

Reflecting on Senator Manchin's legacy, Workman described him as an agile and pragmatic politician, willing to cut deals that diverge from party norms. Manchin played a crucial role in passing legislation during Biden's first term and confirmed numerous federal judges, leaving a lasting impact on West Virginia politics.

Overall, Senator Manchin's decision not to seek re-election will have far-reaching implications for both West Virginia and national politics. His departure marks the end of an era and raises questions about the future of the Senate and federal funding for the state.

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