WASHINGTON (Diya TV) – Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia declared he will not seek re-election in 2024. The decision opens the door for Republicans to potentially secure a significant victory in the traditionally GOP-leaning state. At 76 years old, Manchin cited extensive deliberation and family discussions as factors behind his choice.

Manchin, the lone Democrat in statewide office in West Virginia, acknowledged his belief in accomplishing his goals for the state and expressed a commitment to mobilizing the political center across the nation. This announcement, while not entirely unforeseen, complicates Democratic efforts to retain the Senate seat in a state that has shifted from reliably blue to staunchly red in recent years.

The retirement fuels speculation about Manchin’s broader political ambitions, including a hinted-at 2024 presidential bid as an independent. A draft committee has even been formed to explore the possibility of a third-party presidential ticket featuring Manchin and retiring Utah Senator Mitt Romney.

The development amplifies the challenges facing Democrats in maintaining their slim 51-49 Senate majority, with 2024 already poised to be a tough election cycle for the party. Prior to Manchin’s decision, they were set to defend 23 seats, including those in states won by former President Trump in 2020, compared to the Republicans’ 10.

Republican contenders, including GOP Representative Alex Mooney and popular two-term Governor Jim Justice, have been eager to seize the opportunity presented by Manchin’s seat. With Justice receiving an endorsement from Trump, the battle for West Virginia’s Senate representation is poised to be fiercely contested.

Manchin, known for his pivotal role in shaping legislation during the Biden administration, has been a divisive figure within his own party. His departure signifies a significant shift in the political landscape, setting the stage for a closely watched and potentially pivotal Senate race in 2024.