Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and his daughter, former pharmaceutical executive Heather Manchin Bresch, are pitching wealthy political donors on the possibility of launching a centrist political group designed to focus on curbing federal spending, improving domestic energy production, tightening border security and fighting crime, a person familiar with the planning told CBS News.
Whether the organization is designed to buoy Manchin, 76, serve as a political party or merely support other moderate Democrats and Republicans is unclear. But more plans are set to be announced soon, a person familiar with the planning tells CBS News. Potential donors the Manchins are pitching include Home Depot founder Ken Langone.
News of the Manchin family project was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Manchin has said he will decide on whether to run for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat in West Virginia Senate by the state’s January filing deadline. He has also said he is considering overtures to run as part of a unity ticket next year, should President Biden and former President Donald Trump emerge as the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. Manchin is aligned with No Labels, the bipartisan group working to get a potential third-party candidate on the ballot in November 2024.
Manchin told a West Virginia radio show earlier this month that he’s “thinking seriously” about leaving the Democratic Party to become an independent or third-party candidate.
“I’m thinking seriously,” Manchin said. “I have to have peace of mind, basically. The brand has become so bad, the ‘D’ brand and ‘R’ brand. In West Virginia, the ‘D’ brand because it’s [the] national brand. It’s not the Democrats in West Virginia, it’s the Democrats in Washington.”
He wouldn’t be the first senator to leave the Democratic Party of late. The moderate Sen.of Arizona left the Democratic Party to become an independent in December.
Heather Manchin Bresch, 54, became the first woman to run a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company when she took over the Netherlands-based Mylan in 2012. Bresch and her company were criticized for raising the price of a two-pack EpiPen to a whopping $600 by 2016. Mylan eventually settled a lawsuit with the Justice Department and other agencies for $465 million over what it charged Medicaid for EpiPens. She retired in 2020.
— Kathryn Watson contributed to this report