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Joe Manchin

Manchin sounds like a presidential candidate but he isn’t one yet

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is in New Hampshire today speaking at public gatherings in Manchester and Derry, something we usually only see presidential candidates doing.

These events are being hosted by Americans Together, a nonprofit group founded by the senator’s daughter, ex-drug industry executive Heather Manchin. The group is seeking to raise up to $100 million to promote centrist candidates.

The 76-year-old Manchin — who has been in the Senate since 2010 — isn’t running for president, at least not now. Manchin says he wants to rein in the power of the major parties while promoting “common sense candidates” who can get things done in Washington.

Here are some excerpts from Manchin’s remarks later today:

Manchin will push for open primaries and ranked-choice voting, which he says “can help shift power from small groups at the extremes to the common sense majority.”

Democrats in particular are concerned about Manchin, former Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan and the centrist group No Labels, which is considering offering a “unity ticket” in 2024. Democratic strategists fear any independent bid for the White House could siphon off more support from President Joe Biden than former President Donald Trump.

Our friend Maggie Haberman at the New York Times reported earlier this week that a new super PAC has been formed to boost a No Labels presidential candidate.

The AP then reported that Hogan had formally stepped down from the No Labels board last month, a sign of a possible White House campaign.

And now Joe Manchin is in New Hampshire talking about “common sense candidates.”

All this should make Democrats and the Biden-Harris campaign extremely happy, we’re sure.

— John Bresnahan

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