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Joe Manchin independent: Senator from West Virginia and longtime moderate Democrat, registering as an independent

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a longtime moderate Democrat, announced Friday that he will register as an independent.

Manchin announced last year that he would not run for re-election in the deep-red state, giving Republicans a chance to flip the Senate seat. However, the news that Manchin has registered as an independent raises new questions about his political future and ambitions.

“Our national politics are broken and neither party is willing to compromise to find common ground,” Manchin, who has long been a crucial voice in the Senate, said in a statement. “To stay true to myself and committed to putting country before party, I have decided to register as an independent, with no party affiliation, and continue to fight for America’s sensible majority.”

If Manchin decides to run for Senate or governor, he has until August 1 to file a declaration of candidacy and submit the necessary signatures needed to get on the ballot. He would need about 8,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.

CNN reported in March that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer approached Manchin about running for re-election as an independent.

“I think this is a long-term scenario,” Manchin said at the time. “So I don’t expect that to happen. I don’t expect to run.”

But when asked if that meant the door was completely closed, he didn’t rule it out, saying at the time: “I don’t know if anything in Washington DC is 100%.”

A spokesman for Manchin told CNN that he will continue to consult with Senate Democrats.

There are several senators who are registered as independents and are working with Democrats in the Senate, including Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Angus King of Maine and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

(The-CNN-Wire & 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner company. All rights reserved.)