Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), shocked the halls of Congress last week after he announced that he will not seek reelection to the upper chamber next year.
The moderate Democrat, who was often a thorn in the side of the his party's radical progressive policy pushes, is all but guaranteed to hand Republicans a Senate seat, given West Virginia's deep red political makeup.
According to The Hill, Manchin announced his decision last Thursday, releasing a statement explaining why he came to that decision.
Joe Manchin will NOT seek reelection.
— Lawrence Jones III (@LawrenceBJones3) November 9, 2023
"After months of deliberation and long conversations with my family, I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia. I have 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,” Manchin, 76, said in a statement.
Manchin then indicated that he would work to push his near-center ideology and see if he can build support across the country for it during deeply divided times.
"But what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together," Manchin said.
Notably, his decision wasn't expected until later this year or in January, which would have been near the filing deadline.
Manchin was also expected to have a difficult time winning reelection in the otherwise deeply red state of West Virginia, as Gov. Jim Justice is currently receiving mountains of support in his quest for the seat.
For his part, Justice released a statement later on Thursday addressing Manchin's shocking news.
"Senator Joe Manchin and I have not always agreed on policy and politics, but we’re both lifelong West Virginians who love this state beyond belief, and I respect and thank him for his many years of public service," Justice said.
Joe Manchin's decision not to seek reelection virtually ensures that the Democratic Party will lose his Senate seat next year in deep-red West Virginia, making the party's path to retaining its thin Senate majority more difficult. https://t.co/E8yNCO4Ugc https://t.co/NHY31r4Tfg
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) November 11, 2023
There are some who believe Manchin could continue to be a thorn in President Joe Biden's side if he decides to launch a run for the White House. Given his moderate political style, analysts say he could stand a chance at making huge gains from middle-of-the-road voters.
There's still about a year left before Election Day 2024. Only time will tell.