Manchin to back Biden for president

Manchin to back Biden for president
© Greg Nash

West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhy Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee | Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan | NJ requiring public water systems to replace lead pipes in 10 years Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal MORE, one of the most conservative Democrats in the upper chamber, is poised to endorse former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden authorizes up to 0M for Afghan refugees Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe 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 flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Shontel Brown gaining ground against Nina Turner in Ohio: poll Biden hits trail for McAuliffe in test of his political brand 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 SandersPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia US launches second Somalia strike in week 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 WarrenPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia Warren-backed amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to defense bill 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.