Manchin says he won’t enter governor’s race amid speculation

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday he will not enter the governor’s race in West Virginia, shooting down speculation the retiring senator might be considering a last-minute bid for his old job.

“My support is with Steve Williams,” Manchin said about the Democratic nominee, who won the uncontested primary race in the state.

“He’s been a friend of mine for 40 years, and we’ve worked together. I know how good he is, I know how competent he is, and I know how hard he’ll work. So, I’ve been supporting Steve,” he added while speaking to local reporters at an opening ceremony for a public outdoor fitness court at the University of Charleston on Wednesday, the Herald-Dispatch reported.

Manchin — a conservative Democrat who served as the state’s governor from 2005 to 2010 — has recently been rumored to be mulling a possible bid for his old job, a race he could enter only as an independent or in the event he persuaded Williams to step aside.

Some West Virginia Republicans have encouraged Manchin after they were unhappy with the results of last week’s GOP primary — which saw West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey narrowly defeat former state lawmaker Moore Capito, the son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), for the nomination.

Manchin said, however, he did not know how rumors about a possible bid began.

“I don’t know how this came about,” Manchin told the reporters. “But I appreciate it. It’s humbling, and I’m very proud to have people that think that my public service was truly about public service. That’s all I’m about, and I want my state to succeed.”

“I want to help anybody I can in the position they might be in, whether it’s a governor, or whether it’s a U.S. senator, or congresspeople. I want to be able to help them do the best they can to represent our state,” he added.

Manchin announced in November that he planned to retire from the Senate, after long toying with rumors about a possible third-party bid for the White House. He said he had “accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia” but noted the decision not to run again was “one of the toughest decisions of my life.”

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