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Manchin has ‘no intentions’ of going independent, but suggests that could change

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Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday left the door open to one day become an independent, three days after his Arizona colleague, Kyrsten Sinema, announced that she was quitting the Democratic Party to become an independent herself.

Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Manchin, DW.Va., claimed he was already “the most independent person” in the Senate and confirmed that he had already considered changing his affiliation to a party.

He did not forbid leaving the Democrats, but said he was not considering such a move.

“I don’t know how you become more independent than me,” he said. “I watch all these things, I’ve always watched all these things. But I have no intention of doing anything right now. Whether I do anything later, I can’t tell you what the future will bring.”

Manchin argued that Americans are “very upset” and “don’t like the bickering” taking place in politics, echoing longstanding criticism.

“I’m not a Democrat from Washington, I don’t know what to tell you,” Manchin said. “But I have a lot of friends who aren’t Washington Republicans and if a Washington Independent is, like I said, more comfortable, you know, we’ll see what happens there. People were signing up for independents more than any party affiliation.They’re fed up and fed up.

In the current 50-50 Senate, Manchin and Sinema, who were considered two of the more centrist members of the Democratic caucus, had particular influence over legislation and which candidates might advance.

Senator Joe Manchin smiles as he arrives for the Democratic Senate leadership election on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 8, 2022.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Manchin said Sinema didn’t tell her before making her announcement on Friday, but he “respects her decision” and thinks she “gave some pretty good reasons why.”

“You have to respect every senator here who has to make their own decisions and I trust all of them and I respect the decisions they make,” Manchin said, “and that doesn’t change the way I’m going to work with them.” do not change anything.”

Manchin and Sinema will both be re-elected in 2024. He said on Monday he had not yet made a decision on whether to run.

Sinema’s party switch has been criticized by some, such as independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, as a possible political move intended to secure a better chance given that she is falling out with the Democratic base over her positions on issues. issues such as minimum wage and tax increases.

But Manchin said he was not concerned with politics.

“I’ve always said this, and I would say to all the wonderful people listening to you: look at the content, look at what the person is, what they bring to it, does they represent you?” he said. “Just because they have a D or an I or an R, does that change who they are and how they represent you?

As for his own potential re-election bid, Manchin dismissed the role his affiliation might have.

“Everyone is running against me,” he joked.

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ABC News

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