Allies of Joe Manchin believe the West Virginia Democrat could retire from the Senate to lead his alma mater, West Virginia University

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
  • Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is keeping everyone on their toes regarding his plans for 2024.

  • A New York Times report suggested Manchin could step down to lead West Virginia University.

  • The university faces a budget shortfall and has proposed major cuts to its world languages programs.

Sen. Joe Manchin is keeping everyone guessing on his plans for 2024.

The influential West Virginia Democrat may run for reelection to the Senate, which would give the party their best chance of holding the seat.

He may run for the White House as an independent under a No Labels presidential ticket.

Or he could simply call it quits after a decadeslong political career in West Virginia, which in recent years has morphed from a Democratic redoubt to a Republican stronghold.

However, allies of Manchin told The New York Times of another potential option for the senator: retiring to become the president of his alma mater, West Virginia University.

E. Gordon Gee, the 79-year-old academic administrator who first served as the university's president from 1981 to 1985, is in his second stint leading the institution after returning in 2014.

However, the university is facing the potential dissolution of most of its world languages programs and possible layoffs to make up for a $45 million budget shortfall.

Allies of Manchin told The Times that the senator may be enticed to come in and try to steer the university in a new direction, given the close attention that he pays to affairs in the mostly rural state.

But Manchin is facing an array of different political pressures at the moment.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has repeatedly implored Manchin to run for reelection, according to The Times, in what could be a tough race against two-term GOP Gov. Jim Justice. The New York Democrat is cognizant that Manchin is likely the only Democrat who can hold the seat next year in the deep red state.

And Democrats want him to drop any sort of presidential bid, fearful that it could damage President Joe Biden's reelection chances.

Senate aides told The Times that Manchin is serious about a potential White House bid, but others told the newspaper that the senator is flirting with a bid as a way to keep his name in the headlines and continue to press Biden over the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, the marquee legislation that the senator crafted with Schumer last year.

Insider reached out to Manchin's Senate office for comment.

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