CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With just weeks until he is set to announce his future political plans, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said a possible run for governor has been “the toughest decision I have ever made in my life.”
“I change from morning to afternoon to night. It’s so difficult because I know both jobs and I know them extremely well,” he said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Manchin, who won reelection to the Senate last November, previously said he will announce if he is running for governor after Labor Day. Manchin previously served as governor from January 2005 to December 2010 when he left to join the Senate.
Manchin said he doesn’t like what is going on in West Virginia or the leadership of Gov. Jim Justice, whom Manchin endorsed in the 2016 election cycle when Justice was a Democrat.
“I think the governor can do a much better job than what he’s doing. He can work a little bit harder and spend more time … I understand he’s spending a lot of time blaming everybody for everything that happened that he won’t work on,” he said. “I don’t like the way the state’s being run. The state’s better than this, and we can do better than this.”
Yet Manchin noted Congress also needs leaders and he serves a valuable role in the body.
“I see the benefits of both offices (and) the position I’m in right now, and I know both jobs very well,” he said.
Justice is already facing primary challenges from former Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher and former Delegate Mike Folk. If Manchin enters the Democratic primary contest, he would be running against Stephen Smith, the former director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition.
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has not formally announced his plans for 2020; Morrisey lost to Manchin in last year’s Senate contest and would be running for his third term as attorney general if he chooses to do such. He recently told the Bluefield Daily-Telegraph he is “leaning toward” running for reelection.