Joe Manchin flips registration to independent

The longtime Democratic Senator has not made it clear if he will continue to caucus with the Democratic Party in the Senate.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a former Democrat, announced Friday that he has registered as an independent. 

This move has raised questions about his future political plans, sparking speculation about his potential impact on the balance of power in the Senate.


Driving the news: Manchin has frequently clashed with the Democratic Party and has been seen as an obstacle to many of President Joe Biden’s legislative priorities. 

  • He announced in November that he would not seek re-election to the Senate in the heavily Republican state of West Virginia, making the Republicans strong contenders to secure the majority next year.

What they’re saying: Having served in the Senate since 2010 and currently serving as the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Manchin emphasized that he believes both major political parties have abandoned their constituents for partisan 

  • “Today, our national politics are broken and neither party is willing to compromise to find common ground,” Manchin said in a statement. “To stay true to myself and remain committed to put country before party, I have decided to register as an independent with no party affiliation and continue to fight for America’s sensible majority.”

Go deeper: The decision for Manchin to register as an independent was driven by his long-standing desire to change his party affiliation. 

  • However, a looming deadline in West Virginia forced the issue, as candidates must file with their affiliation 60 days prior to the August 1 deadline in West Virginia to run in this year’s election.
  • Manchin’s political journey has been marked by significant shifts in voter registration in West Virginia, with the current balance of about 40% registered Republicans, 31% Democrats, and approximately 24% with no party affiliation. 
  • With the state’s legislative chambers having Republican supermajorities and the strong support for Donald Trump, Manchin’s decision to register as an independent could have far-reaching implications for the state’s political landscape.
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