(WASHINGTON) — Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Sunday urged West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a fellow Democrat, not to run for president as a third-party candidate next year, claiming such a bid has no chance of succeeding.
“My message to Joe Manchin is I thank him for his service. I think he’s had a career of distinguished service,” Moore told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl, adding, “I would urge him not to mar his legacy by getting involved in something so foolish.”
On Thursday, Manchin announced he would not seek another term in the Senate but would remain involved in politics, including by “traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle.”
That has only fueled speculation he might join the group No Labels as it considers mounting a bipartisan “unity” ticket in the 2024 presidential race.
Manchin has not publicly ruled out a White House bid and a source close to him recently told ABC News that “nothing is off the table.” No Labels said in its own statement that the group was “gathering input from our members across the country” and would decide by early next year on whether to mount a campaign.
Moore, on “This Week,” had sharp words for that plan.
“No Labels … has no path, has no policy platform. They don’t even have a candidate,” he said.
“What No Labels is, it’s a configuration made up of dark money that won’t disclose its donors but is, frankly, just going to simply hand an election off by being able to not actually come up with solutions, which is continuing to throw wood into this flame of disillusionment,” he said. (No Labels has said it doesn’t share its donors because of concerns they could face unnecessary attacks.)
Manchin, Senate Democrats’ most conservative member, emerged as a key dealmaker with President Joe Biden while their party held a 50-seat majority in the chamber. His retirement all but guarantees Republicans will flip his seat, given West Virginia’s political leanings.
But the mounting chatter about Manchin’s future outside the Senate comes amid Democratic handwringing over Biden’s poor ratings with the public, with a spate of polls released last week showing him trailing former President Donald Trump in several swing states.
Surveys have also consistently shown Americans feel Biden is too old for another term.
Moore was asked by Karl about the concerns over Biden’s age, but he played them down. He boosted the president instead, touting Biden’s record on infrastructure and cautioning that the election is still 12 months away.
“I think when you’re looking at polls a year out, they aren’t worth the paper that they are written on,” the governor said.
“We are actually rebuilding things in a bipartisan way. And when you think about what people are asking for, bipartisan leadership that can get things … that’s President Biden, and I think that will show up in the election for next year,” Moore contended.
“This is about performance, not personalities,” Moore said of Biden, “and that’s why his performance is the reason that I believe deeply that the American people will give him a second term.”
Moore also pointed to Tuesday’s election results across the country, when Democrats won key races in Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia and elsewhere — despite Biden’s widespread unpopularity — because voters are “motivated by the issues of actually things getting done in a bipartisan way.”
In particular, Democratic wins in Virginia’s legislative races were a “complete repudiation” of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Moore said, referencing Youngkin’s heavy involvement and push for a 15-week abortion ban with exceptions.
Karl pressed Moore on whether he worried about any other third-party candidates running against Biden, including Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Robert Kennedy Jr., who recently left the Democratic Party, and Cornel West.
Moore insisted he wasn’t bothered.
“I think what President Biden is going to continue to show is that results do matter. It’s one thing to say we’re going to rail against the system and it’s another thing to actually work to make systems better,” he said.
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