(Bloomberg) -- West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said he is considering launching a presidential campaign, moving closer toward a bid that could shake up the 2024 election.
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“I will do anything I can to help my country, and you’re saying, ‘Does that mean you would consider it?’ Absolutely,” Manchin, a Democrat, said Wednesday in an interview with NBC News.
The comments are the strongest signal Manchin has sent that he could mount an independent presidential run, which would likely pull support from President Joe Biden’s base of voters.
Manchin, 76, is set to go on a cross-country tour to listen to Americans’ concerns and said he would have to figure out if there is voter appetite for a moderate candidate before deciding whether to run. He announced last week he won’t seek reelection to the Senate.
The senator is a Democrat representing a state where former President Donald Trump beat Biden by nearly 40 percentage points in 2020. Manchin’s centrist politics would likely mean he could pull support from moderate Democrats, Republicans dissatisfied with their likely nominee, Trump, and independents.
Manchin is also involved with the No Labels, a centrist policy group laying the groundwork for a possible third-party campaign for president. Democrats have criticized the No Labels effort, saying it would improve Trump’s chances of winning the White House in 2024.
“I’m totally, absolutely scared to death that Donald Trump would become president again,” Manchin said in the interview. “I’ve never been a spoiler in my life of anything, and I would never be a spoiler now.”
A Manchin candidacy could capitalize on the growing number of “double haters” — voters who are dissatisfied with both Biden and Trump — which now stands at 19% of the electorate in swing states, according to the Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll released last week.
(Adds Manchin’s age, additional quote in the seventh paragraph)
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