How Joe Manchin affects Democrats chances of holding Senate, White House in 2024

Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 3:38 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Centrist Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV, sent shockwaves through the political universe when he announced his pending exit from the U.S. Senate.

“What I will be doing, is traveling the country, and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle,” Manchin said in a video announcement Thursday.

There is speculation Manchin is hinting at a presidential run, and third party group No Labels has already referred to him as an ally. Manchin made an appearance in the swing state of Georgia Friday.

Cook Political Report’s Jessica Taylor said a third party probably can’t win the White House, but Manchin could pull votes from Joe Biden.

“I think Democrats are right to worry about what a no labels candidacy could do to Joe Biden’s prospects,” Taylor said.

The Cook Political Report forcasts the Senate seat will almost certainly flip to West Virginia’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice, as Manchin’s personal brand of politics was the only thing keeping the seat blue.

“He’s been a political unicorn in West Virginia,” Taylor said. “I mean, he served in the legislature, he was secretary of state, he was governor, and he was sort of able to buck the political evolution that was happening in a state like West Virginia.”

Republicans picking up the West Virginia seat would put the Senate at an even 50-50. In the event the Senate does end up tied, whichever party wins the White House would hold the tiebreaking vote.

Taylor says it doesn’t look good for Democrats, as all seven of their projected close races are Democrats playing defense and trying to hold seats.

“The fact that you have vulnerable Democrats in all these red states, losing this one is, I think, very damaging for them.”

If Democrats lose any more seats, they would need to win a Senate race in states like Texas or Florida, which has recently been a major challenge for the party.