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Will another Democrat defect? Joe Manchin responds to the possibility: 'I'm not a Washington Democrat'

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Several Democratic politicians made headlines recently for leaving the Democratic Party. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema most recently announced her defection.

The trend has people wondering: Will any other moderate Democrats leave their party? Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the Senate's most moderate Democrat, addressed the issue on Monday.

What did Manchin say?

Manchin was asked if he will follow in Sinema's footsteps and declare political independence. He confirmed he may consider it, but he is staying put — for now.

"I’ll look at all of these things. I've always looked at all those things, but I have no intention of doing anything right now," Manchin said. "Whether I do something later, I can't tell you what the future is going to bring.

"I'm not a Washington Democrat. I don't know what else to tell you," he emphasized.

"And if a Washington independent is— we'll see what happens there. We'll have to look. People are registering more for independent than any other party affiliation; they are sick and tired of it," the senator explained.

Still, Manchin said he "tremendously" respects Sinema's decision, acknowledging that most Americans are upset with political tribalism and the lack of unity in Washington.

"I can tell you that people in the United States are very upset. West Virginia is upset," he said. "They don’t like the bickering that goes on. They want unity. They want us to work together, and that’s what I try to do every day."

While Manchin is not leaving the Democratic Party right now, becoming an independent — or even a Republican — would benefit his political prospects, because he is the only West Virginia Democrat elected to a statewide office, and West Virginia is deeply red.

Manchin, however, has not said whether he will seek a fourth term in the Senate.

Anything else?

Last year, Manchin raised the possibility of leaving the Democratic Party and becoming independent. At the time, Manchin was a one-man blockade to President Joe Biden's agenda.

In fact, Manchin disclosed that he offered to leave the party if his Democratic colleagues thought he had become too much of a liability for them.

"I said, me being a moderate centrist Democrat — if that causes you a problem, let me know and I'd switch to be independent," he said last October.

"No one accepted" the offer, Manchin said.

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