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

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump Jr. to campaign in West Virginia for Manchin challenger Dems go on offense against GOP lawsuit on pre-existing conditions Credit union group to spend .8 million for vulnerable Dem, GOP incumbents 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: Political appointee taking over as Interior IG | Change comes amid Zinke probe | White Houses shelves coal, nuke bailout plan | Top Dem warns coal export proposal hurts military The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump, Stormy Daniels trade fire on Twitter | Three weeks to midterms | Pompeo meets Saudi king White House shelves rescue plan for coal, nuclear: report 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 McCainMcConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate MORE (Ariz.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins and the mob mentality Graham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh St. Lawrence alumni, faculty want honorary degree for Collins revoked MORE (Maine) or Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiEx-Florida lawmaker leaves Republican Party Murkowski not worried about a Palin challenge Flake on Kavanaugh confirmation: To see GOP 'spiking the ball in the end zone' doesn't seem right 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.