When discussing Joe Manchin, the conversation among political wags inevitably turns to “what’s next?”

When Manchin was Secretary of State, he was setting up a run for Governor. When he was Governor, he was eyeing the United States Senate.

Now that Manchin has finally secured a full six-year term in the Senate (after initially winning a special election for an unexpired two-year term in 2010 following Senator Byrd’s death), there’s chatter of Manchin running for… wait for it… Governor.

Politco reported this week on the future of moderate Senate Democrats like Manchin if Republicans take control of the body in this year’s election.

‘“I am who I am. I don’t fit anywhere,’ Manchin said of his politics, too conservative for most Democrats, but too liberal for most Republicans,” Politico reported.   That invited speculation about whether Manchin prefers Charleston over Washington.

“He isn’t up for re-election until 2018 and makes no secret that he would like to be a state executive after cutting short his second term as governor to replace the late Robert Byrd in 2010,” Politico reported.  “Manchin is ‘absolutely’ considering another run for governor, calling it a ‘big option.’”

Manchin has never settled comfortably into the painfully deliberate pace of the Senate or Washington’s fixation on party allegiance.   His high-energy pace and short attention span are more suited for day-to-day operations and deal making than the hyper-partisan slog of the nation’s capital.

And, as always, Manchin is a party unto himself.  That was evident again when Politico asked him about West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race.

“He (Manchin) supports Democrat Natalie Tennant in her run to replace the retiring West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, but questions whether it is ‘morally right’ to ‘beat up’ on Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in that race.  He said the state has ‘two good candidates’ in the race—not exactly holding the party line.”

That has to be disappointing to Tennant. She’s raising real money and campaigning hard in her uphill battle against Capito.  Having Manchin solidly in her corner would help immensely.

But Manchin avoids corners.  He works the room, dominating its center and always protecting his flank.

“I’ll wait until after the “’14 election and start making some decisions,” Manchin told Politico.  “I would never say I’m leaning any way.”

After Capito-Tennant, the next big race in West Virginia is the 2016 Governor’s contest. Gov. Tomblin cannot run for re-election, so it’s wide open.  Now the ever-impatient Manchin has, just with a few words, conveniently dropped his name into the mix.

What’s next for Manchin?  I don’t think even he knows, but he has the rare political luxury of time to decide.



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  • Jagger

    Please do not vote this fox back into the henhouse and this goes for any of his friends and family members too. The citizens of West Virginia deserve better!

  • Jon F.

    Maybe Joe will run as the Republican candidate for Governor of WV...that is something he could add to his extensive resume and what the heck it might even be fun to watch!

  • Derek

    how can anybody support the liberal Natalie Tennant. Get rid of Manchin and all of Obamas cronies. If this state would ever change its political party we may very well change our jobs creation.

  • ignorant bystander

    I bet Walt Helmick just pooped his pants! All t hat jockeying for a gubernatorial run for nothing.

  • mikeyd

    joe is so two faced , I wonder if he has been trying to get anybody a FREE MASTER DEGREE lately

  • TB

    Every time he is on TV he sure talks a lot but really never says anything.

  • TB

    Who cares?

  • pc

    I think in 2016, before he leaves office, Gov. Tomblin ought to resurrect the REAP program. Then, Joe M. can resign from the Senate, be appointed as the new REAP director, thereby carrying on the legacy of his Uncle Jimmy. Joe can doff a fedora, climb on a junk car, and vow to rid our "glorious WV hills from the perfidy of those jezebels of junkery". Ah, you gotta love it.

  • George

    Well at least with Manchin being Catholic,he would have given the unborn child a better chance than our governor who apparently has little knowledge of biology nor knowledge on running a State. We are always at or near the bottom in every good category by which the Nation is polled. However I still respect him and his office.

  • David Kennedy

    Question of the day:

    If the esteemed voters decide to 'retire the Senator at the end of his Senate Term in 2018...how many retirement pensions will he qualify for and how much will they be?
    He would be 72 years old.

    • mikeyd

      manchin was against double dipping,but he and his family are the biggest double dippers

  • Medman

    Manchin is a hardcore politician who thrives on feeding his ego by having the podium and spotlight. This is one of those examples of his conflict of wanting to be the big fish in a little pond or being just an average fish in the big pond. My guess is that he probably realizes that in order to run with the big dogs in DC, you have to sell your soul and invest several years in order to get real clout and move up the pecking order. His track record has not been one of patience and playing second fiddle, but he is a realist. I think the possibility of him running for governor again is less than 50%.....just a guess.

  • Picklebee

    I (Joe) want to be a big fish in a little pond, than a little fish in a big pond. It suits my ego better.

  • C.H

    Joe Must have a few more friends that he wants to give jobs to in WV

  • mamasita

    So what must Natalie be thinking?
    First a bit of a dis for 2014. Now he's considering Gov for 2016. My guess that's the big reason she is running now - to position herself for 2016 Gov race. Is he just giving her and his loyal Dems a big hint?

  • Wowbagger


    I will concede one point, Ole Joe does have a short attention span. He didn't finish the Governor's term and now he apparently isn't interested in the Senator's gig he so coveted.