Joe Manchin hands Senate endorsement for his replacement to Wheeling mayor

The West Virginia senator said he was endorsing Elliot because he had the “determination, the vigor, and vitality” that was needed to serve in the Senate.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, gave his official endorsement to Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott on Monday, making him his top choice to replace him in the Senate.

Manchin announced that he was not seeking reelection last November, but was considered a frontrunner for a third party presidential bid. He was even a top choice to lead the unity ticket for No Labels, which sought to place a Democrat and a Republican on one bipartisan presidential ticket.

The West Virginia senator said he was endorsing Elliot, who is running against fellow Democrats Don Blankenship and Zach Shrewberry for the nomination, because Elliot had the “determination, the vigor, and vitality” that was needed to serve in the Senate.

“He’ll show up every day to fight for West Virginia, to create jobs, grow our economy and make a better life for our people,” Manchin said in a video Elliot posted to X. “Glenn will always fight for West Virginia and will put our country and our state before the bickering and pettiness of the partisan politics of Washington, D.C.” 

Manchin previously served as the governor of the predominantly red state, and served two terms as one of its senators. He has gained recognition for being one of President Joe Biden’s toughest critics, and for being a centrist Democrat.

Republicans are hoping to pick up Manchin’s Senate seat, which is considered one of the most vulnerable seats this November, the Hill reported. One strong contender on the Republican side is Gov. Jim Justice, who was elected to lead the state twice. His toughest opponent is West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney, though Justice is considered the frontrunner for the nomination.

Manchin’s endorsement has been greatly coveted since he announced his retirement from the Senate last year. Elliot said he had called Manchin to talk about his potential run in November, shortly after Manchin announced his retirement. 

“He was incredibly generous with his time during that call. He made clear that he thought the race was far more winnable than the DC pundits were projecting. And he encouraged me to put my name on the ballot,” Elliott said in his post. “Nearly five months later, no single conversation is more responsible for my Senate candidacy than that one.” 

The primaries in West Virginia will be held on May 14.