Joe Manchin mulls West Virginia gubernatorial run in 2020

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is mulling a run for governor in West Virginia in 2020—a post he held nearly a decade ago.

Manchin, D-W.V., said he would make his decision on whether to remain in the Senate, where he just won re-election for another six-year term, or launch a gubernatorial bid.

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“I’ve had a lot of inquiries they want me to come back home,” Manchin told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” last month. “I think people think maybe I should stay.”

He added: “We’re looking at it and I want to do what I can to help my state of West Virginia…It’s always been about West Virginia for me.”

Manchin, 72, was governor from 2005 to 2010 until he left to campaign for the Senate. Manchin publicly considered returning back to West Virginia in 2016 to, again, run for governor, but ultimately decided against it.

Manchin, a conservative Democrat, has maintained a positive relationship with President Trump. He was the only Democrat to break from his party in voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018. Manchin also ran ads during his re-election campaign last fall that sought to highlight his independence and support for the Second Amendment.

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Should Manchin be willing to abandon his Senate seat and launch a gubernatorial run, he would likely have to confront the president, who has been an ally of incumbent Republican Gov. Jim Justice.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill on Tuesday.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill on Tuesday. (AP)

Justice, a billionaire businessman, hired current and former Trump staffers to lead his 2020 re-election campaign, and even declared that he and Trump are “bound at the hip.”

Manchin, in 2016, endorsed Justice, who ran for governor as a Democrat. But less than a year later, Justice announced he was switching parties because Democrats had “walked away” from him.

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Trump won West Virginia by a landslide in 2016.

Meanwhile, Justice has been criticized, as of late, for not spending enough time in the state's capital and for being a "part-time" governor. Justice has said he lives in Lewisburg, which is 100 miles from Charleston and the governor's mansion. Lewisburg is, instead, about 10 miles from White Sulphur Springs--home to The Greenbrier, a resort he owns. Justice's net worth is around $1.5 billion, and he owns dozens of companies, as well as coal mines and farms. Some of Justice's companies have faced lawsuits over fines and debts owed.

Fox News' Melissa Leon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.