Manchin to back Biden for president

Manchin to back Biden for president
© Greg Nash

West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinHillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic MORE, one of the most conservative Democrats in the upper chamber, is poised to endorse former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says Trump executive order is 'a reckless war on Social Security' Trump got into testy exchange with top GOP donor Adelson: report Blumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections 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 ClintonBlumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Hillary Clinton touts student suspended over crowded hallway photo: 'John Lewis would be proud' 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 SandersThe Memo: Trump team pounces on Biden gaffes The Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election Warren urges investment in child care workers amid pandemic 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 WarrenBiden campaign says no VP pick yet after bike trail quip Biden edges closer to VP pick: Here's who's up and who's down Democratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports 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.