By Jim Ellis — Friday, Feb. 24, 2023
PresidentSen. Joe Manchin: Will Not Run for President — Sen. Manchin (D-WV) made it clear Wednesday that he would not run for president. Rumors had abounded that the West Virginia senator might run for governor or president, both of which he has now dispelled. Previously, on national television, the senator said he will not again run for governor. With Gov. Jim Justice (R) ineligible to seek a third term in the Mountain State and broadly hinting that he will run for the Senate, the door would have opened for Manchin to again run for governor, a position he held from 2005-2010.
A seriously discussed option was for Manchin to run for president on a “No Labels” ticket, possibly even with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) as his running mate. Now that both running for president and governor are eliminated options, Sen. Manchin will soon opt for re-election to the Senate or outright retirement from politics. The early tea leaves suggest he will seek a third full term.
Vivek Ramaswamy: Announces for President — Venture capitalist Vivek Ramaswamy announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in a move that was anticipated. Ramaswamy, whose personal wealth is estimated to exceed $500 million, is basing his campaign on promoting the free enterprise system and opposing corporate “wokeism.”
While Ramaswamy’s wealth will certainly allow him to run extensive electronic advertising, he is a very long shot to become a top-tier candidate. Still, he is someone worthy of attention.
Montana: Sen. Jon Tester (D) to Seek Re-Election — Through a Twitter announcement Wednesday, Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) announced that he will seek a fourth term next year. Speculation about his potential retirement had become relatively intense.
The Democratic leadership needs Sen. Tester to run again in order to increase hope of holding onto the party’s tenuous Senate majority. The Democrats face a 2024 election map that forces them to defend 23 of 34 in-cycle seats, and keeping the Montana seat is no sure thing even with their best candidate.
While the media and the senator himself will continue to use a “moderate,” label to describe Tester, his voting record has moved decidedly to the left during this term and is now a solid leadership vote. Regardless of who ultimately becomes the Montana Republican Senate nominee, we can count on seeing an ideological contrast race being run with the GOP accusing Tester of being out of step with the state’s electorate, and the senator firing back with extremist claims about whomever his Republican opponent is.
CA-16 & 18: Ex-San Jose Mayor to Challenge a Democratic Incumbent — Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D), who was ineligible to seek a third term in 2021, Wednesday said he has informed both Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton; Palo Alto), and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) that he plans to challenge one of the two veteran Democratic incumbents next year. Liccardo says he has polled both Rep. Eshoo’s 16th CD and Rep. Lofgren’s 18th District to assess his chances in what would likely transition into a double Democratic general election.
The 18th CD contains most of the city of San Jose, but Rep. Lofgren responded to Liccardo with a statement that she plans on seeking re-election in 2024. Lofgren, who was first elected in 1994, has been re-elected against light challenges with over 65 percent of the vote ever since. In the 2022 jungle primary, Rep. Eshoo dropped below the 50 percent mark suggesting some vulnerability to a future Democratic challenge.