Sen. Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) participates in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup on May 3, 2022 in Washington, D.C.
(Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Manchin Denies Presidential Ambitions Behind 'No Labels' New Hampshire Event

"It's difficult to imagine Manchin launching a third-party run with the knowledge that it would almost certainly result in his failure," wrote one journalist. "But anything's possible at this point."

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin insisted Wednesday that his upcoming trip to New Hampshire to speak at an event hosted by a dark money group committed to fielding a third-party "centrist" presidential candidate has "nothing to do with" running for president 2024—although the right-wing West Virginia Democrat refused to rule it out.

No Labels—a billionaire-backed organization seeking to run a so-called "unity ticket" in 2024—announced Wednesday that Manchin and former Republican Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. are slated to deliver keynote speeches during the July 17 "Common Sense Town Hall" event at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, a key primary state.

Asked by CNN Wednesday if he's got any plans to run against President Joe Biden next year, Manchin—who has often worked to stymie his own party's more progressive policies and practices—said that "this is a strictly a conference we're having for common sense."

"This is nothing about a third party, this is nothing about bringing up any office at all, it's about a dialogue for common sense, which is very hard to have here," he explained. "We're going around the country basically talking to people who want this commonality and commonsense approach to how we fix problems."

However, the senator—who is up for reelection next year—added that "I've never ruled out anything or ruled in anything."

HuffPost senior political reporter Igor Bobic wrote Wednesday that "Democrats are growing increasingly anxious about a possible 2024 election spoiler putting [former President] Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner, in the White House again."

According to Bobic:

A recent Echelon Insights poll found that Manchin would draw single digits if he decided to run for president on a third-party ticket. The June survey also found that Manchin would attract voters from both parties but pull more undecided voters in a race with Trump and Biden.

It's difficult to imagine Manchin launching a third-party run with the knowledge that it would almost certainly result in his failure. He could simply be maximizing his time in the limelight, as he often does, and positioning himself as a centrist who is unafraid of criticizing of Biden ahead of a tough Senate reelection fight. But anything's possible at this point.

It is unclear exactly how the Democratic Party would respond to a Manchin White House run, although if past challenges to what numerous critics have called the two-party monopoly on U.S. political power are any indicator, aggressive litigation could occur as Democrats try to keep a third-party candidate off state ballots or mired in exhaustive legal battles.

In 2004, for example, Democrats sued to keep Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, founder of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, off the ballot in at least 17 states following a 2000 White House run in which he received nearly 3 million votes and was falsely blamed for handing Republican George W. Bush the presidency.

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