West Virginia Sen. Joe Munchin recorded independently



CNN

A longtime moderate Democrat from West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin announced Friday that he is filing as an independent.

Manchin announced last year that he would not seek re-election in the deeply red state, creating an opportunity for Republicans to flip the Senate seat. News that Manchin has filed as an independent raises new questions about his political future and aspirations.

“Our national politics is fractured, and neither party is willing to compromise to find common ground,” Manchin, a longtime key swing voter in the Senate, said in a statement. “To be true to myself and committed to putting country before party, I have decided to register as an independent with no party affiliation and continue to fight for a sane majority in America.”

If Munchin decides to run for the Senate or governor, he has until Aug. 1 to file a nomination and submit the necessary signatures to get on the ballot. He needs about 8,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.

CNN reported in March that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had approached Manchin about running for re-election as an independent.

“I think it’s a long, long, long shot scenario,” Manchin said at the time. “So I didn’t expect that to happen. I didn’t expect to run.

But when asked if the door was completely closed, he didn’t rule it out, saying at the time, “I don’t know if anything is 100% in Washington, D.C.”

A spokesman for Manchin told CNN that he will continue to meet with Democrats in the Senate.

There are several senators registered as independents working with Senate Democrats, including Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Angus King of Maine and Kirsten Sinema of Arizona.

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This story has been updated with additional information.

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