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Senator Joe Manchin announces that he will not seek re-election in 2024.

Democratic Senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, announced on Thursday that he will not run for re-election in 2024.

The long-awaited decision from the Democrat in a "red state" signifies a challenging path for the party to maintain its narrow majority in the upcoming elections next year.

In 2024, Democrats already face a tough task in retaining control of the U.S. Senate. They have 23 seats on the ballot, with the most contested ones in Republican states like Ohio, Montana, and West Virginia.

Manchin, aged 76, says he has accomplished what he intended to do for his home state. However, he added that he is not done with politics.

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"I will finish my term, traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle, find common ground, and unite Americans," Manchin said in a video posted online.

Earlier, Manchin hinted that he might be open to participating in the presidential elections as a third-party candidate. He appeared at events organized by the No Labels group, which explored what it calls a potential "unity" presidential ticket.

Manchin had to endure a tough battle for re-election in his home state. High-profile Republicans from West Virginia were already gearing up against him, including Governor Jim Justice and Representative Alex Mooney. Senate Republican Campaign Committee Chairman, Senator Steve Daines from Montana, released a statement saying, "We like our chances in West Virginia."

Key Centrist in the Senate

In recent years, Manchin has increasingly diverged from the rest of his party. This became evident in December 2021 when he announced that he would not support President Biden's approximately $2 trillion social and climate spending bill, known as "Build Back Better," a decision for which he faced sharp criticism.

However, Manchin played a crucial role in passing the Inflation Reduction Act, which included historic climate investments, and he voted with his party almost 90% of the time.

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In an article in The Wall Street Journal explaining his decision not to seek re-election, Manchin accused his Democratic colleagues of putting "politics over people's will" regarding abortion because, in his view, they did not support a bill he introduced to codify the 1973 Supreme Court decision "Roe v. Wade," which legalized abortion nationwide. The Supreme Court overturned the Roe decision last year, leaving the matter to the discretion of the states.

In his article, Manchin also accused Republicans of putting "politics over people's will" because they did not support his measures to review energy permits.

"Like Democrats on abortion, Republicans refused to provide an affirmative response," he wrote. "Both events demonstrated the kind of doomed-to-fail political tribalism that has become too common in Washington."

In his statement on Thursday, Manchin did not rule out the possibility of running for president as a third-party candidate.

Any such move could potentially damage Biden's bid for re-election.

In his statement on Thursday, Biden praised Manchin and his "service to West Virginia and our country" and emphasized their work "together to do everything possible for hardworking families."

This move leaves a significant void for West Virginia Democrats. Since Manchin first arrived in Washington in 2010 after the death of Senator Robert Byrd, West Virginia has transformed from a Democratic stronghold into a deeply red state. He is currently the only Democrat holding statewide office and the only representative of his party representing the state in Washington.

As a moderate-leaning conservative on some issues, he played a crucial role in votes, deciding everything from judicial appointments to changing the dynamics of key legislation.

During the Trump administration, Manchin was the only Democrat to support the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Alongside the Inflation Reduction Act under Biden, Manchin also helped push through the long-stalled Mountain Valley Pipeline, working with Republicans to expedite the permit for its construction, including it in the legislation to raise the national debt ceiling.