Joe Manchin Will Not Run For West Virginia Governor

After flirting with the idea on several occasions, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has announced that he will not run for Governor of West Virginia and will run for re-election to the Senate:

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced Sunday that he won’t run for governor next year and instead plans to seek reelection to the Senate in 2018.

Manchin had been seen by many Democrats as likely to leave Washington, expressing frustration with the inability of the parties to cooperate. Instead, he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he had seen progress in breaking gridlock and wanted to continue to try to make an impact at the federal level.

“It’s been challenging, but I think we’ve made some inroads,” the first-term Democrat said. “I really believe we’ve changed the whole process to a certain extent in the Senate.”

Manchin has already served six years as governor before he was elected to the Senate in a special election in 2010, following the death of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd. Manchin said Sunday that leaving the governorship was “the toughest decision of my political life.”

“I was two years into my second term, a job I loved very much,” he said.

Manchin’s decision creates a wide open race for the West Virginia governorship in a state that’s tilted increasingly to the right in recent cycles. Manchin was viewed as a front runner for his old job; incumbent Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is term-limited. Some Democrats have stepped forward as potential candidates, including U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, who recently signaled his interest in running.

On the Republican side, GOP state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has hinted at a 2016 gubernatorial bid

Had he run for the Governor’s Mansion again, Manchin would have been an overwhelming favorite, and he’s likely to have an easy time at re-election in three years as well.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Once again I am struck by the notion that people might actually pursue a job like governor of West Virginia. I would have thought you’d have to draft someone.