Manchin to back Biden for president

Manchin to back Biden for president
© Greg Nash

West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinNames to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Gardner on court vacancy: Country needs to mourn Ginsburg 'before the politics begin' MORE, one of the most conservative Democrats in the upper chamber, is poised to endorse former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll GOP set to release controversial Biden report Can Donald Trump maintain new momentum until this November? MORE in the general election. 

“I will, absolutely,” Manchin told Politico in a Thursday interview.

Manchin has been thinking about endorsing Biden since the South Carolina primary in March, where Biden took more than 48 percent of the vote in what was then a crowded primary. 

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Voters in West Virginia share similar concerns as those in South Carolina, where the energy sector carries the economy. Manchin didn’t endorse Obama’s campaign, and in 2016 he nearly took back his endorsement of Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Democratic super PAC to hit Trump in battleground states over coronavirus deaths Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE after she called for an end to coal mining. He was also one of a slew of Democratic senators who were vocally uncomfortable about the prospect of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNYT editorial board remembers Ginsburg: She 'will forever have two legacies' Two GOP governors urge Republicans to hold off on Supreme Court nominee Sanders knocks McConnell: He's going against Ginsburg's 'dying wishes' MORE (I-Vt.) winning the nomination, according to the news outlet. 

“I’m just trying to make sure that we’re working through a plan,” he said. “I’ve been working and talking to different people. We’re definitely getting there. You just can’t leave people behind that did the heavy lifting and that’s worked hard, whether it’s producing coal or producing energy for this country. They just need an opportunity to live their lives and have that opportunity. And I think Joe Biden understands that.”

Manchin’s endorsement comes after Biden became the presumptive nominee following Sanders's exit from the race. The West Virginia primary is scheduled for June, and though Sanders is no longer in the race, he is still hoping to gather enough delegates to garner some leverage and push Biden toward a more progressive platform at the Democratic National Convention. 

Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenGOP set to release controversial Biden report Biden's fiscal program: What is the likely market impact? Warren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt MORE (D-Mass.), a fellow progressive and former 2020 rival, endorsed Biden earlier this week. Former President Obama also endorsed his former vice president this week.