Manchin hints at possible departure

Manchin hints at possible departure
© Greg Nash

West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Labor head warns of 'frightening uptick' in black lung disease among miners MORE (D) has given another indication that he might leave the gridlocked Senate to run for governor in the state.

“If I think it is futile and we are going down the same path we have been going down for four years, then I would have to look at my options,” he told The Huffington Post.

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It’s not the first time Manchin has said as much. Earlier this year, he said on MSNBC that he would wait until the end of 2014 to see if gridlock eased in the upper chamber.

“But if the leaders are never going to work together, and try to make something happen; it’s just going to be stalemate as it has been, and I’ve got to rethink it, too,” he said.

It remains to be been whether the Obama White House and a Republican-controlled Senate will be able to strike deals on a range of policy issues from tax reform to immigration.

Manchin and other conservative Democrats have been struggling for some time to find their place in a polarized Congress. He is part of a group of centrist senators hoping to break through the gridlock who have been meeting since last year’s battle over the government shutdown.

Manchin served as West Virginia’s governor from 2005 until 2010, when he won a special election to take over the seat after the death of longtime incumbent Sen. Robert Byrd (D). He won the seat outright in 2012, and will be up for reelection in 2018.

If Manchin leaves the Senate early, it’s possible that West Virginia would elect a Republican to fill his seat. On Tuesday, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) was elected to fill the seat held by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who is retiring.