Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, said Sunday he will support the reelection of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona independent, over an expected Democratic challenger.
“She is going to be a formidable candidate,” Mr. Manchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “She needs to be supported because she brings that independent spirit.”
“It’s not about Democrats and Republicans,” he said. “Pick the best person who is willing to speak their mind.”
Ms. Sinema, who left the Democratic Party shortly after the November midterm elections but still caucuses with Democrats, has not said whether she will seek a second term, but she would likely face Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego as an opponent.
Ms. Sinema and Mr. Manchin are the two most conservative members of the Democratic caucus, raising questions about whether Mr. Manchin would also consider jumping ship. He is up for reelection in 2024 and would face a difficult path to victory in his ruby-red state if he decides to run again.
Mr. Manchin said switching parties isn’t on the table.
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“The Democrats don’t claim me, but Republicans get mad at me all the time,” he told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. “[Republicans] wouldn’t be any happier with me. So the thing of it is, I am fiscally responsible and socially compassionate, which I think most Americans are.”