West Virginia's Manchin addresses report he's being recruited to run for governor

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Monday did not rule out a potential run for governor of West Virginia after a report said Republicans were encouraging him to do it.

West Virginia MetroNews reported that a group of Republicans who oppose the GOP gubernatorial nominee, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, have urged Manchin to run for his old job as an independent. Manchin served as governor from 2005 to 2010 before West Virginians elected him to the U.S. Senate.

Asked about the report on Monday evening, Manchin told reporters in Washington, D.C., that he was aware of the rumors. He said the Democratic nominee, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, is a friend.

“I heard that this morning, the rumors. I’ve supported my friend Steve Williams, we’ve known each other for 40 years, got him involved. He’s a good person. I don’t know what’s going on. So basically, I’ll just wait until I go home,” Manchin said. 

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The West Virginia MetroNews report quoted sources “close” to the senator who said at least 20 Republicans “with financial resources” have encouraged Manchin to run for governor.

“Many Republicans who believe Manchin did a good job as governor previously are encouraging him to run again,” one of the sources said, according to the outlet.

The state Republican Party issued a statement fully endorsing Morrisey against the Democratic nominee, Williams.

“The WVGOP is united squarely behind Patrick Morrisey for Governor. West Virginians are excited to continue our Republican victory streak by electing him as our conservative voice in the Governor’s mansion this November!” stated Matt Herridge, WVGOP chairman.

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Morrisey, who previously ran for Senate in 2018 and lost to Manchin by three points, indicated on social media that he has spoken with his defeated rivals in the Republican gubernatorial primary and that the party is united heading into the November general election.

“I’ve had good conversations with Moore Capito, Chris Miller, Mac Warner, the Governor, our Board of Public Works Candidates, and many others. My opponents and the BOPW nominees were quite gracious. It’s now clear we will all pursue our common goal of electing Republicans in November and advancing conservative values,” Morrisey posted on X.

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Williams, in an interview with West Virginia MetroNews, cast doubt on the rumors Manchin would hop in the gubernatorial contest. 

“Joe Manchin has not given me any indication that there has been any conversation along those lines. Secondly, he contributed to my campaign in the primary. He is committed to contributing to my campaign in the general, and we have had several conversations since election day,” Williams told the outlet.

“Unless Joe Manchin is the most duplicitous person on the face of the earth, which I don’t believe he is because he’s been a friend for over 40 years now, I don’t see that these rumors have any legs.”

When pressed by reporters, Manchin, who is not running for reelection, joked Monday that his only interest is in returning home to get away from the capital.

“I’m not involved in anything right now except running for the border of West Virginia, so I can enjoy my life,” he said.

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