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Democrats on Capitol Hill are growing increasingly concerned that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., may launch a third party presidential campaign in 2024, potentially tanking President Biden’s chances of re-election.

The danger of a potential Manchin presidential run is twofold for Democrats, in that they cannot afford to have a spoiler siphon votes away from Biden, and they also have no reliable candidate to prevent Manchin’s Senate seat from falling to Republicans.

Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., said he spoke with Manchin about the issue this spring, but received a noncommittal response from the West Virginia senator.

“I have advised him against it. I think it would be a terrible idea,” Hickenlooper told Politico. “It would help Donald Trump.”

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Joe Manchin talks to reporters

Democrats on Capitol Hill are growing increasingly concerned that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., may launch a 3rd party presidential campaign in 2024, potentially reducing President Biden’s chances of re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont, echoed Hickenlooper’s concerns, saying “it would be bad for the country if Joe didn’t run for U.S. Senate.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., appealed to Manchin’s pride in a statement to the outlet, suggesting Manchin would not back down from the fight to defend his Senate seat against the likely Republican challenger, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

“My gut tells me that that’s not going to happen. And my gut tells me there’s still a really good likelihood that Joe’s gonna run for reelection. And we need him, too,” Kaine said.” If Gov. Justice thinks he’s gonna sweep Joe Manchin aside, I know that Joe Manchin is like, ‘Are you kidding me? No way.’”

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President Joe Biden

President Biden could face an uphill battle for re-election if West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin opts to run for president under as a third party candidate. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Nevertheless, Manchin has refused to rule out the possibility in interviews as well as in conversations with fellow Democrats.

“Then how did Perot get Bill Clinton elected?” Manchin asked in an interview with Politico when confronted with the assumption that he would serve as a spoiler.

Former President Donald Trump

Democrats fear a Sen. Joe Manchin presidential run could help former President Trump. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“Everybody’s getting so worked up and scared to death, and we’re a year and a half away,” he added. “Is there any alternative? Is there anything that we can do to bring both the Democrat and Republican Party back to centrist policy?”

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Manchin last refused to rule out the move in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” earlier in June. Host Shannon Bream grilled Manchin on reports that he may align with the group “No Labels” to fund a campaign.

“Not ruling anything in, not ruling anything out,” Manchin replied.

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