Greg Nash

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the most conservative Democrats in the upper chamber, is poised to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden 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. 

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 Clinton 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 Sanders (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 Warren (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. 

Tags Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Coal mining Democratic primary election 2020 Elizabeth Warren energy sector Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Joe Manchin
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