Passing up 2016 governor race an “extremely tough decision” for Manchin

Joe_Manchin_official_portrait_112th_CongressOne day after he announced he will not run for governor in 2016, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., says it was an “extremely tough decision” to make.

“A year ago I was probably closer,” he told reporters on a Monday morning conference call. “If you weighted it, it probably would have been 70-30, 75-25 to coming back home.”

Manchin says his decision was not influenced by the recent Republican takeover in the West Virginia Legislature, or pressure from his party to remain in Washington and let someone else pursue the governor’s mansion.

He just decided he could help West Virginia more from his seat in the U.S. Senate. “You start looking and evaluating, where we are as a country. We live in a challenged world and we live in a divided country,” he says. “It’s going to take people in the middle. And I think I’m squarely planted in the middle.”

“People like myself are in demand to fix things.”

Rumors have circulated almost since Manchin joined the Senate in 2010 that he might someday return to West Virginia and run for governor. The senator did his part to help stoke those rumors, too.

Manchin says he has not yet decided who he would back in a gubernatorial campaign—although he acknowledged rumored candidate Booth Goodwin “is a good friend of mine”—but he was not shy about his support of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race.

“She’s ready to go. She’s been battle tested,” he says.

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