Manchin rules out bid for West Virginia governor, will stay in Senate

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: Joe Manchin
Senator Joe Manchin, speaks during a confirmation hearing for David Bernhardt in Washington on March 28, 2019.   -  Copyright  Anna Moneymaker Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., won't seek another run at his state's governorship next year, he announced Tuesday.

"Our state is blessed with the resources and people to accomplish anything, and I am going to use every day I have left in the Senate to make sure West Virginians have that chance," Manchin said in a statement. "I am grateful to be a public servant from West Virginia, and I can't wait to continue fighting to make a difference as their United States Senator."

Manchin, who previously served as governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010, won re-election to the Senate last fall in a more than 3-point victory over state Attorney General Patrick Morrissey. Manchin was considering a gubernatorial bid against Republican Gov. Jim Justice.

Although West Virginia has a history of electing Democrats, Manchin's wins are a recent outlier in a state that President Donald Trump won in 2016 by more than 40 points over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

"I've had a lot of inquiries they want me to come back home," Manchin told CBS's "Face the Nation" in an interview last month. "I have people think that maybe I should stay."

A moderate who has sought to work with the president at times, Manchin often complains of the lack of progress in Congress and speaks fondly of his time as governor.

Justice, a billionaire businessman who ran for office as a Democrat before switching parties, has been a source of controversy during his term in office. His administration was served with a federal subpoena and Republican-controlled state committees approved "no confidence" resolutions against him, The Associated Press reported.

An August MetroNews Dominion Post West Virginia Poll showed that Manchin would defeat Justice in a hypothetical race. The poll showed Manchin winning 49 percent of respondents while Justice carried 39 percent. Another 12 percent said they were not sure who they would vote for.