Joe Manchin skipping White House event as questions swirl over presidential bid

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).
(Image credit: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is skipping a White House event next week that will celebrate the first anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, NBC News reported Friday. The news comes amid rumors of a potential third-party presidential bid from Manchin.

Manchin, who is widely considered one of the most — if not the most — conservative Democrats in Congress, has increasingly been at odds with President Biden. This is largely due to the administration's climate initiatives, which butts heads with Manchin's coal-aligned interests in West Virginia.

The White House event is slated to be a "campaign-style" affair, NBC reported, with Biden expected to tout the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act. Manchin's reported non-attendance is the latest hint that the West Virginia senator may be exploring a presidential run, the outlet reported. As rumors continue to abound regarding Manchin's plans, the senator recently told a West Virginia radio host he was "very seriously" thinking about leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an independent.

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Last month, Manchin told voters he didn't want to be a "spoiler" for Biden's candidacy, saying, "I've been in races to win. And if I get in a race, I'm going to win." He was speaking at a forum for No Labels, an independent political organization that has been vying to enter a third-party candidate into the 2024 race; Manchin is their top choice, The New York Times reported. The group has received criticism from Democrats for potentially siphoning votes away from Biden toward former President Donald Trump. Political columnist Jonathan Chait reported that a No Labels candidacy "would almost certainly peel off enough moderate voters from the Democratic ticket to ensure a Republican victory."

No Labels has also been controversial because, as a nonprofit, it isn't required to disclose its funding sources, unlike a political party.

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Justin Klawans

Justin Klawans is a staff writer at The Week. Based in Chicago, he was previously a breaking news reporter for Newsweek, writing breaking news and features for verticals including politics, U.S. and global affairs, business, crime, sports, and more. His reporting has been cited on many online platforms, in addition to CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

He is also passionate about entertainment and sports news, and has covered film, television, and casting news as a freelancer for outlets like Collider and United Press International, as well as Chicago sports news for Fansided.