Manchin won't run for W.Va. governor in 2020

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTAP) - West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin political future won't include another run for governor in 2020.

The 72-year-old Democrat said in a news release Tuesday morning that he wants to focus solely on his duties in the Senate.

“The Senate, as envisioned by our Founders, is the greatest deliberative body in the world, and, when it is at its best, Senators can transform the lives of people across America for the better," he said. Whether that means protecting those with pre-existing conditions, ensuring healthcare and pensions for our miners, or building the roads and bridges, and broadband infrastructure that make our country competitive, we can make a difference here.

“I have always said that “public service is not self-service.” So, when considering whether to run for Governor, I couldn’t focus just on which job I enjoyed the most, but on where I could be the most effective for the Mountain State."

Manchin was governor from 2005 to 2010 before being elected to the Senate in special election following the death of Robert Byrd. He was elected to a six-year term in 2012 and the re-elected in 2018.

“Our state is blessed with the resources and people to accomplish anything, and I am going to use every day I have left in the Senate to make sure West Virginians have that chance," he said. "I am grateful to be a public servant from West Virginia, and I can’t wait to continue fighting to make a difference as their United States Senator.”

Manchin' decision means he will steer clear of a potential showdown with incumbent Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who already has announced he's seeking re-election.

Manchin also has sparred with Justice, who was elected governor as a Democrat in 2016, then switched to the Republican Party less than a year later. Manchin had endorsed Justice for governor.

Earlier this year, Manchin became the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, giving the coal-state lawmaker a prominent position to shape policy. But Manchin said he has become frustrated with a lack of Senate productivity and bipartisanship.