Sen. Joe Manchin is "dead man walking" in West Virginia due to his dismal showing in the polls, former Obama White House senior political adviser David Axelrod told "CNN This Morning" on Monday.
"I don’t want to be unkind to Sen. Manchin, but he’s kind of dead man walking in West Virginia. There’s nowhere for him to go," Axelrod said, referring to a new survey that shows the three-term Democratic senator trailing Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice by 22 percentage points.
Axelrod emphasized that Manchin has "a popular Republican governor in the state that former President Donald Trump carried by almost 40 points. [Manchin] didn’t win by very much last time. So he knows that he can’t win reelection in that state."
He added that this may lead Manchin to instead run for president as a third-party candidate, which Axelrod called "a graceful exit for him."
No Labels, an outside group, has raised the idea of an independent run if next year's presidential election becomes a rematch between President Joe Biden and Trump and is believed to be courting Manchin to be their candidate, the Washington Examiner reported.
Justice is ahead of Manchin, 54% to 32%, in a hypothetical matchup for the Senate race, with 13% undecided, according to an East Carolina University poll of registered West Virginia voters carried out on May 22-23.
The poll, however, also had Manchin only narrowly trailing Rep. Alex Mooney, another Republican candidate in the Senate race, 41% to 40%, with 18% undecided.
Manchin says he won’t make a decision whether to run for reelection as senator until the end of this year, and he also isn’t ruling out a presidential bid, according to The Hill.
He has also said that although Justice, a former Democrat, is popular in the state, he may have difficulty winning the Senate Republican nomination over Mooney.
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
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