April 22, 2015

Manchin made the right decision for W.Va. | Clarksburg Exponent Telegram

Some may have been surprised when Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced Sunday he would seek reelection in 2018.

After all, Democrats had been touting the possible return of Manchin to the governor’s mansion as a way to stem the Republican tidal wave that swept the GOP to control of both state legislative chambers, as well as four of five national congressional seats.

Manchin, himself, had made no secret he was considering a return to Charleston, even paying for a poll that showed he was the odds-on favorite to win a third term as governor.

But with changes afoot in Washington, D.C., Manchin is positioned to become much more of a player on the national scene — a position from which he could ultimately do the state more good than as governor.

“I want to serve the people of West Virginia to the best of my ability. And I’ve said this — if my country does well, my state will do well,” Manchin said during a nationally televised show.

Manchin said there has been positive movement in breaking the political gridlock that has frustrated him in Washington.

“I really believe we’ve changed the process to a certain extent in the Senate to where we’re willing to put our country first, and I’m going to continue to fight for that. That’s the reason I’ve made a decision to stay in the United States Senate.”

Manchin has made it clear in past conversations with The Exponent Telegram Editorial Board that gridlock, as well as some of the policies of President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have made his time in the Senate difficult.

Now, with both Obama and Reid leaving office after the 2016 election, Manchin sees a clearer path to being able to help West Virginians.

He also knows, as the senior senator, he is beginning to gain the type of negotiating power that made the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd legendary in the Mountain State.

Manchin’s role as a conservative Democrat also is seen as critical for Democrats to try to regain and hold a majority in the Senate, a fact noted in a Washington Post blog published Tuesday.

At the end of the day, Manchin could have decided to return to Charleston. And he likely would have won.

But the decision to remain in Washington and seek reelection to the Senate in 2018 is the best decision Manchin could make for the Mountain State, short of possibly being part of a national campaign, say as a vice presidential candidate.

Manchin has worked hard to gain the clout needed for West Virginia to have a strong voice in Washington. His decision to remain there is the right one.

By:  Editorial