Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who previously served for six years as the governor of West Virginia, was widely considered to be taking a serious look at running for his old job again once it becomes vacant in 2016.
On Sunday on Face the Nation, however, he threw a curve ball: He will run for re-election instead in 2018:
West Virginia is a crimson state, once nearly voting for a convicted felon over President Obama during the 2012 Democratic presidential primary. (That is not a joke, my friends). But Sen. Manchin, perhaps because he represents such a conservative electorate, is one of the few Senate Democrats ready and willing to break with his own party. For instance, he is in favor of bringing the ‘controversial’ anti-human sex trafficking bill up for a vote (stalled in Congress by Senate Democrats) and even vowed to repeal the president's illegal executive amnesty. He also has spectacularly high approval ratings and isn’t afraid to criticize his own party or fellow Democrats. Running for re-election, therefore, will improve his party’s chances of retaining the seat, while also giving him an opportunity to continue, as he put it in the clip above, “[serving] the people of West Virginia, the most patriotic people in the country” at the national level.
Of course, I wouldn't say he is necessarily a shoe-in for re-election. But based on how he performed during the 2012 election cycle, I imagine Democrats are resting a little easier knowing he isn't giving up his seat voluntarily, right?