POLITICS

Campaign To 'Draft Manchin' For 2016 Presidential Race Drawing Attention

07/16/2014 02:52 pm ET | Updated Jul 16, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) contemplating a run for president?

Politico seems to think maybe. Its morning Huddle email newsletter on Wednesday pointed out that even though Manchin has not yet visited primary states like Iowa or New Hampshire, there are Twitter accounts popping up that indicate maybe he should: @NH4JoeManchin and @Iowa4JoeManchin. The Des Moines Register flagged the latter feed last week, and there's also a nationally-focused @DraftJoeManchin account.

The Wall Street Journal mentioned Manchin as a "would-be" 2016 candidate last week as well.

Manchin has said he would back Hillary Clinton, should she run for president again. The first-term senator has become known for bucking his party on key issues, including carbon emissions limits for coal-fired power plants delaying some parts of the health care reform law.

His spokesman told The Charleston Gazette back in April that he's "leaving all his options open for 2016, and will continue to look for the best way to bring common sense to Washington."

So far, Manchin himself has brushed off the suggestion that he jump in.

"It’s very flattering," Manchin told Politico this week. "The bottom line is people are searching for somebody who's willing to fix things rather than talk about them … It's something I haven't given an awful lot of thought about."

He added, however, that the issue is "low on the totem pole" for now.

UPDATE: 3:42 p.m. -- Manchin sent a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday afternoon also downplaying the effort:

I’m flattered that people are encouraging me to run for president, but right now I am focused on finding ways to pass commonsense legislation in our nation’s capital to make our country work better. I feel like I am in a unique position to help our country become a better place for all Americans. Right now that is my focus, but I will always be interested in finding better ways to serve the great state of West Virginia and the American people. We will have to see what the future holds.

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