Manchin rules out becoming Trump's Energy secretary
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMcConnell to Dems: Don't hold government 'hostage' over DACA Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Senate campaign fundraising reports roll in MORE (D-W.Va.) is quashing speculation that he'll leave the Senate to become President Trump's Energy secretary.

The Democratic senator, who is facing a tough 2018 reelection bid, said at a town hall that he would not be jumping to the Trump administration.

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Jonathan Kott, a spokesman for Manchin, confirmed the Democratic senator said at the town hall that he would not be Trump's next Energy secretary. 

White House and GOP officials floated Manchin as a potential pick to lead the Energy Department as part of a strategy to get Republicans a 50th vote on repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

The move would let West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a former Democrat who earlier this month switched to the GOP, appoint a Republican to replace Manchin in the Senate.

Under the scenario, current Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Regulators say Perry plan didn’t pass legal muster | Chamber to push for 25-cent gas tax hike | Energy expert sees US becoming 'undisputed leader' in oil, gas Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals Energy regulators: Perry’s coal plan wasn’t legally defensible MORE would be appointed to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Manchin, in turn, would be named to lead the Department of Energy.

Republicans, who have a 52-seat majority, fell one vote short in their bid to pass a "skinny" bill to repeal parts of ObamaCare. The repeal effort is sidelined unless they can flip GOP Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Meghan McCain says her father regrets opposition to MLK Day MORE (Ariz.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals MORE (Maine) or Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSessions torched by lawmakers for marijuana move Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy Trump's executive order on minerals will boost national defense MORE (Alaska), or find a way to expand their majority.

Manchin was reportedly considered for the job after Trump's election in November, but Trump eventually nominated Perry to the post.