Manchin: Keeping seat in Senate is best for West Virginia

West Virginians got good news this week: U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin will remain in Washington. He revealed Tuesday he has decided not to run for governor next year.

For months, Manchin, a Democrat, had been considering a campaign for governor. In all likelihood, at least for now, his opponent would have been incumbent Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican.

Public opinion polls indicated such a race would have been a close one — though one released a few days ago had Manchin supported by 49 percent of respondents, compared to Justice’s 39 percent (12 percent were undecided).

Manchin has said he enjoyed being governor, a tenure cut short by the death of former Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. Manchin won the post in a special election in 2010.

But in the end, his thoughts were more about where he could do the most good for Mountain State residents than about the potential to win a gubernatorial race, Manchin said. His announcement put it succinctly: “I have always said that ‘public service is not self-service.’ So, when considering whether to run for governor, I couldn’t focus just on which job I enjoyed the most, but on where I could be the most effective for the Mountain State.”

Manchin’s effectiveness in the Senate has been out of proportion to his seniority. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., named Manchin to his leadership team.

And, the senator from West Virginia serves on important committees — including the all-important Appropriations panel. He is ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and serves on the Veterans’ Affairs and Armed Services panels.

In addition, Manchin serves on important subcommittees. One is the cybersecurity arm of Armed Services Committee, where he is one of just nine members.

A substantial part of the reason why Manchin has been effective for our state is that he represents the thinking of many West Virginians. That is, he is not part of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Rather, Manchin is a pragmatist, voting on how issues affect our state rather than by party allegiance.

Manchin’s decision was right for West Virginians, then. He deserves praise for remaining in his post, fighting for the Mountain State in Washington rather than engaging in a battle for governor.


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