Manchin has not said no to a third party presidential run

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May 5—Could Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., be part of a third party presidential ticket next year?

So far, he is not denying the possibility.

A campaign is under way to have the No Labels political party on the presidential ballot in 2024 in all 50 states.

The party consists of moderates and the likelihood of a run for the presidency may hinge on whether the race is a repeat of 2020, with Pres. Joe Biden facing former Pres. Donald Trump.

At this point, national polling indicates most Democrats don't want Biden to run again and most Republicans don't want Trump to win the GOP nomination.

Polls also say, at least for now, both are well ahead of any possible opponents for their party's nomination.

The dissatisfaction with that scenario has helped bring the No Labels political party into major discussion, a ticket that could include a moderate Republican and a moderate Democrat.

According to the Washington Post, Manchin, who has not declared whether he will run for reelection next year, and former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, are also supporters of the effort of No Labels to get on the ballot in all 50 states.

Both said they have not ruled out participating in a No Labels presidential ticket, if it happens, the article said.

"If enough Americans believe there is an option and the option is a threat to the extreme left and extreme right, it will be the greatest contribution to democracy, I believe," Manchin said in an interview, according to the Post. When asked whether he would participate in a No Labels ticket, he said, "I don't rule myself in and I don't rule myself out."

Manchin would not take any questions on his political plans during a virtual press briefing Thursday,

Before the briefing, reporters were told to only ask questions related to Manchin's legislative duties.

Gov. Jim Justice and Rep. Alex Mooney have already announced their candidacy for the GOP nod to run for Manchin's seat next year and polls show Justice ahead of Manchin if they faced each other.

Manchin narrowly won reelection in 2018, beating Attorney General Patrick Morrisey by only about 20,000.

But Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said during her virtual press briefing Thursday the likelihood of a third party ticket winning, regardless of who the candidates are, is a steep hill to climb.

"I just don't see a pathway for a third party to be able to catch the imagination of the American people, the voting public," she said.

Capito said she understands there is a lot of frustration out there in both parties who may want to see a new leader emerge with new ideas.

"Maybe that is where we end up in the end," she said. "But I think a No Labels independent run is tough."

However, she said, there may be an upside.

"Where I do think it would useful is to try to present a mainstream, middle-of-the-road (approach) that is going to get 50 percent of us on board with certain issues where you are not having to have only the extremes that you hear," she said. "Whether it's on the left with extreme green, extreme policies to defund police and all of that, and then maybe on the right, defund the FBI and things like that, which are not where I think the mainstream Republicans and Democrats are."

But whether the ticket could garner enough support to win is another question.

"I do think it would be helpful for discussion purposes, but I don't see how it could be successful," she said.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com