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Joe Manchin
Senator Manchin.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
United States Senator
from West Virginia
Assumed office
November 15, 2010
Preceded by Carte Goodwin
Chair of the Senate Energy Committee
Assumed office
February 3, 2021
Preceded by Lisa Murkowski
Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee
In office
January 3, 2019 – February 3, 2021
Preceded by Maria Cantwell
Succeeded by John Barrasso
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
July 11, 2010 – November 15, 2010
Preceded by Jim Douglas
Succeeded by Christine Gregoire
34th Governor of West Virginia
In office
January 17, 2005 – November 15, 2010
Lieutenant Earl Ray Tomblin
Preceded by Bob Wise
Succeeded by Earl Ray Tomblin
27th Secretary of State of West Virginia
In office
January 15, 2001 – January 17, 2005
Governor Bob Wise
Preceded by Ken Hechler
Succeeded by Betty Ireland
Member of the West Virginia Senate
In office
December 1, 1986 – December 1, 1996
Preceded by Anthony Yanero
Succeeded by Roman Prezioso
  • 14th district (1986–1992)
  • 13th district (1992–1996)
Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates
from the 31st district
In office
December 1, 1982 – December 1, 1986
Preceded by Clyde See
Succeeded by Duane Southern
Personal details
Joseph Manchin III

(1947-08-24) August 24, 1947 (age 76)
Farmington, West Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Gayle Conelly
(m. 1967)
Children 3, including Heather
Education West Virginia University (BBA)

Joseph Manchin III (/ˈmænɪn/ MAN-chin; born August 24, 1947) is an American politician and businessman serving as the senior United States senator from West Virginia, a seat he has held since 2010. Manchin was the 34th governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010 and the 27th secretary of state of West Virginia from 2001 to 2005. He became the state's senior U.S. senator when Jay Rockefeller left office in 2015 and has since been West Virginia's only congressional Democrat.

Early life and education

Joseph Manchin III was born on August 24, 1947, in Farmington, West Virginia, a small coal mining town. He is the second of five children of Mary O. (née Gouzd) and John Manchin. The name "Manchin" was derived from the Italian name "Mancina". His father was of Italian descent, and his paternal grandparents emigrated to the United States from the town of San Giovanni in Fiore, in Calabria. Manchin's maternal grandparents were Czechoslovak immigrants.

Manchin's father owned a carpet and furniture store, and his grandfather, Joseph Manchin (Giuseppe Mancina), owned a grocery store. His father and his grandfather each served as mayor of Farmington. Manchin's uncle, A. James Manchin, was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and later served as West Virginia Secretary of State and Treasurer.

Manchin graduated from Farmington High School in 1965. He entered West Virginia University on a football scholarship in 1965, but an injury during practice ended his football career. Manchin graduated in 1970 with a degree in business administration and went to work for his family's business. Manchin has been a close friend of Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban since childhood.

Early political career

Before entering politics, Manchin helped found and was the president of Enersystems, a coal brokerage company his family owns and operates.

Manchin was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1982 at age 35 and in 1986 was elected to the West Virginia Senate, where he served until 1996. He ran for governor in 1996, losing the Democratic primary election to Charlotte Pritt. At that time, he supported the Republican candidate for governor, Cecil Underwood, who went on to win. Manchin was elected Secretary of State of West Virginia in 2000, defeating Libertarian candidate Poochie Myers, 89.4% to 10.6%.

Governor of West Virginia

George W. Bush and Joe Manchin
Manchin greeting President George W. Bush in 2006

In 2003, Manchin announced his intention to challenge incumbent Democratic Governor Bob Wise in the 2004 Democratic primary. Wise decided not to seek reelection after a scandal, and Manchin won the Democratic primary and general election by large margins. His election marked the first time since 1964 that a West Virginia governor was succeeded by another governor from the same party.

Joe Manchin (2894754698) (cropped1)
Manchin speaks during the second day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in his capacity as chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

In July 2005, Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship sued Manchin, alleging that Manchin had violated Blankenship's First Amendment rights by threatening increased government scrutiny of his coal operations in retaliation for Blankenship's political activities. Blankenship had donated substantial funds into campaigns to defeat a proposed pension bond amendment and oppose the reelection of state Supreme Court Justice Warren McGraw, and he fought against a proposed increase in the severance tax on extraction of mineral resources. Soon after the bond amendment's defeat, the state Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) revoked a permit approval for controversial new silos near Marsh Fork Elementary School in Raleigh County. While area residents had complained for some time that the coal operation there endangered their children, Blankenship claimed that the DEP acted in response to his opposition to the bond amendment.

During the Sago Mine disaster in early January 2006 in Upshur County, West Virginia, Manchin confirmed incorrect reports that 12 miners had survived; in actuality only one survived. Manchin later acknowledged that a miscommunication had occurred with rescue teams in the mine. On February 1, 2006, he ordered a stop to all coal production in West Virginia pending safety checks after two more miners were killed in separate accidents. Sixteen West Virginia coal miners died in mining accidents in early 2006.

Manchin easily won reelection to a second term as governor in 2008 against Republican Russ Weeks, capturing 69.81% of the vote and winning every county.

U.S. Senate

Joe Manchin and Brett Kavanaugh
Manchin with Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

Manchin won the 2010 special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by incumbent Democrat Robert Byrd's death with 53% of the vote, and in 2012 was elected to a full term with 61% of the vote. Manchin won a second term in 2018 with just under 50% of the vote.

Manchin has called himself a "centrist, moderate, conservative Democrat" and is generally deemed the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. He opposed President Barack Obama's energy policies, including reductions and restrictions on coal mining; voted against cloture for the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (not voting on the bill itself); supported President Donald Trump's border wall and immigration policies; and voted to confirm most of Trump's cabinet and judicial appointees, including Justice Brett Kavanaugh. On the other hand, Manchin voted against repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, voted to convict Trump in both of his impeachment trials, voted against Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, voted to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, and was a Senate sponsor of the Inflation Reduction Act. He is among the more non-interventionist members of the Democratic caucus, having repeatedly called for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and opposed most military interventions in Syria.

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
  • Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (chair)
    • As chair of the full committee, Manchin serves as an ex officio member of all subcommittees.
  • Committee on Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Cybersecurity
    • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Caucus membership

  • Congressional Coalition on Adoption

Political positions


In February 2019, Manchin said the collapse of an omnibus education reform proposal resulted from state lawmakers not laying the groundwork for broad support for the proposal. Manchin said, "You don't do major reform, policy changes, for the whole education system in a 60-day session without public hearings. There should have been a whole year of going out and speaking to the public." He stated his support for homeschooling and private schools as well as his opposition to funding "them with public dollars."

Energy and environment

Barack Obama and Joe Biden speak to a bipartisan group of governors, 2010
President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden speak to a bipartisan group of governors about building a clean energy economy, February 2010

Manchin criticized President Barack Obama's environmental regulations as a "war on coal" and demanded what he called a proper balance between the needs of the environment and the coal business.

In June 2017, Manchin supported President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, saying he supported "a cleaner energy future" but that the Paris deal failed to strike "a balance between our environment and the economy."

In October 2021, The Guardian named Manchin one of the United States' top "climate villains", writing that he "uses his position to hold climate legislation hostage on behalf of the fossil fuel industry".

Federal budget

Manchin has co-sponsored balanced budget amendments put forth by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Mark Udall (D-CO). He has also voted against raising the federal debt ceiling.


Manchin partnered with Republican senator Pat Toomey to introduce a bill that would have strengthened background checks on gun sales. The Manchin-Toomey bill was defeated on April 17, 2013, by a vote of 54–46; 60 votes would have been required to pass it.

In a March 2018 interview, a month after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and shortly before the March For Our Lives demonstrations, Manchin stated that the Manchin-Toomey bill should serve as the base for a new gun control law.

Health care

In 2010, Manchin called for "repairs" of the Affordable Care Act and repeal of the "bad parts of Obamacare." On January 14, 2017, Manchin expressed concern at the strict party-line vote on repealing Obamacare and said he could not, in good conscience, vote to repeal without a new plan in place. He added, however, that he was willing to work with Trump and the GOP to formulate a replacement. In July 2017, he said that he was one of about ten senators from both parties who had been "working together behind the scenes" to formulate a new health-care program, but that there was otherwise insufficient bipartisanship on the issue.

In September 2017, Manchin released a statement expressing that he was skeptical of a single-payer health care system being "the right solution" while noting his support for the Senate considering "all of the options through regular order so that we can fully understand the impacts of these ideas on both our people and our economy."

In January 2019, Manchin was one of six Democratic senators to introduce the American Miners Act of 2019, a bill that would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to swap funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations under the Abandoned Mine Land fund to the 1974 Pension Plan as part of an effort to prevent its insolvency as a result of coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis. It also increased the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund tax and ensured that miners affected by the 2018 coal company bankruptcies would not lose their health care.


Manchin is opposed to the DREAM Act, and was absent from a 2010 vote on the bill. He supports construction of a wall along the southern border of the United States. He opposed the Obama administration's lawsuit against Arizona over that state's immigration enforcement law. Manchin voted against the McCain-Coons proposal to create a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants without funding for a border wall and he voted against a comprehensive immigration bill proposed by Susan Collins which gave a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers as well as funding for border security.

Manchin voted to withhold funding for "sanctuary cities" and in support of President Trump's proposal to give a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, build a border wall, and reduce legal immigration. On June 18, 2018, he came out against the Trump administration family separation policy. In September 2019, Manchin was the only Democrat on the Senate Appropriations panel to vote for a $71 billion homeland security measure that granted Trump the $5 billion he had previously requested to build roughly 200 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Senior citizens

To help locate missing senior citizens, Manchin introduced the Silver Alert Act in July 2011 to create a nationwide network for locating missing adults and senior citizens modeled after the AMBER Alert. Manchin also sponsored the National Yellow Dot Act to create a voluntary program that would alert emergency services personnel responding to car accidents of the availability of personal and medical information on the car's owner.

Manchin said in 2014 that he "would change Social Security completely. I would do it on an inflationary basis, as far as paying into payroll taxes, and change that, to keep us stabilized as far as cash flow. I'd do COLAs—I'd talk about COLA for 250 percent of poverty guidelines." Asked whether this meant he would "cut benefits to old people," Manchin said that "a rich old person ... won't get the COLAs." He asked: "Do you want chained CPI? I can live with either one."


In 2018, Manchin was one of 17 Democrats to break with their party and vote with Republicans to ease the Dodd-Frank banking rules.

Manchin opposed Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. He called it "a closed process" that "makes little impact in the paychecks of the people in his state." At the same time, he posited the bill contains "some good things ... Initially people will benefit," although ultimately voting against it. In turn, NRSC spokesman Bob Salera stated that he had "turned his back and voted with Washington Democrats."

Manchin opposed the January 2018 government shutdown. The New York Times suggested that he helped end the shutdown by threatening not to run for reelection unless his fellow Democrats ended it.

In March 2019, Manchin was a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill to undo a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that mandated stores and restaurants to have to write off the costs of renovations over the course of 39 years via authorizing businesses to immediately deduct the entirety of costs of renovations.

On February 2, 2021, Manchin announced his opposition to an increase from $7.25 to $15 per hour in the federal minimum wage, but said he was open to a smaller increase, perhaps to $11, and higher for parts of the country with a higher cost of living, like Massachusetts, New York, and California. He also argued that the minimum wage should be index-linked, saying, "Once it gets above $11 it should be indexed, so it never becomes a political football again." Along with seven other Democrats, Manchin opposed a $15 minimum wage proposal by Bernie Sanders as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and forced Democrats to limit extended unemployment benefits in the same bill.


In February 2017, Manchin and Roy Blunt introduced the HIRE Veterans Act, which establishes a tiered recognition program within the Department of Labor to award employers based on their contributions to veteran employment. The legislation passed in April 2017.

In January 2019, Manchin was one of five senators to cosponsor the VA Provider Accountability Act, a bipartisan bill meant to amend Title 38 of the United States Code to authorize the under secretary of health to report "major adverse personnel actions" related to certain health care employees at the National Practitioner Data Bank along with applicable state licensing boards.

In July 2019, Manchin and Republican Marsha Blackburn introduced the Providing Veterans Access to In-State Tuition Act, a bill that would remove a three-year post-discharge requirement and thereby enable student veterans eligibility to receive in-state tuition rates from public schools in the event they decide to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

In August 2019, Manchin and Capito announced a collection of grants that totaled to over $7 million intended to aid homeless veterans under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program.

Personal life

Manchin is a member of the National Rifle Association and a licensed pilot. He married Gayle Heather Conelly on August 5, 1967. Together they have three children: Heather Manchin Bresch, Joseph IV, and Brooke.

Manchin is Catholic.

In 2006 and 2010, Manchin delivered commencement addresses at Wheeling Jesuit University and at Davis & Elkins College, receiving honorary degrees from both institutions.

Manchin lives on a houseboat in the Potomac River when in Washington.

Electoral history


West Virginia House of Delegates 31st district Democratic primary, 1982
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin, III 7,687 21.15%
Democratic Cody A. Starcher (incumbent) 6,844 18.83%
Democratic William E. Stewart 6,391 17.59%
Democratic Samuel A. Morasco 4,250 11.70%
Democratic Nick Fantasia 5,072 13.96%
Democratic Donald L. Smith 3,276 9.02%
Democratic J. Lonnie Bray 2,819 7.76%
Total votes 36,339 100.0%
West Virginia House of Delegates 31st district general election, 1982
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin 16,160 N/A
Democratic Cody A. Starcher (incumbent) 16,110 N/A
Democratic William E. Stewart 15,090 N/A
Republican Benjamin N. Springston (incumbent) 12,166 N/A
Republican Paul E. Prunty (incumbent) 14,620 N/A
Democratic Samuel A. Morasco 11,741 N/A
Republican Edgar L. Williams III 5,702 N/A
Republican Lyman Clark 5,270 N/A
Democratic hold


West Virginia State Senate 14th district Democratic primary, 1986 (unexpired term)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin, III 10,691 56.53%
Democratic Jack May 8,220 43.47%
Total votes 18,911 100.0%
West Virginia State Senate 14th district general election, 1986 (unexpired term)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin, III 17,284 65.87%
Republican Lyman Clark 8,955 34.13%
Total votes 26,239 100.0%
Democratic hold


West Virginia State Senate 14th district Democratic primary, 1988
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin III (incumbent) 13,932 63.58%
Democratic Anthony J. Yanero 7,981 36.42%
Total votes 21,913 100.0%
West Virginia State Senate 14th district general election, 1988
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin III (incumbent) 29,792 100.00%
Total votes 29,792 100.00%
Democratic hold


West Virginia State Senate 13th district Democratic primary, 1992
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin III (incumbent) 17,238 100.00%
Total votes 17,238 100.00%
West Virginia State Senate 13th district general election, 1992
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin III (incumbent) 33,218 100.00%
Total votes 33,218 100.00%
Democratic hold


1996 West Virginia gubernatorial election Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Charlotte Pritt 130,107 39.54%
Democratic Joe Manchin 107,124 32.56%
Democratic Jim Lees 64,100 19.48%
Democratic Larrie Bailey 15,733 4.78%
Democratic Bobbie Edward Myers 3,038 0.92%
Democratic Lyle Sattes 2,931 0.89%
Democratic Bob Henry Baber 1,456 0.44%
Democratic Louis J. Davis 1,351 0.41%
Democratic Frank Rochetti 1,330 0.40%
Democratic Richard E. Koon 1,154 0.35%
Democratic Fred Schell 733 0.22%
Total votes 329,057 100.00%


2000 West Virginia Secretary of State election Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin, III 141,839 51.08%
Democratic Charlotte Pritt 80,148 28.86%
Democratic Mike Oliverio 35,424 12.76%
Democratic Bobby Nelson 20,259 7.30%
Total votes 277,670 100.00%
2000 West Virginia Secretary of State election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin, III 478,489 89.44%
Libertarian Poochie Myers 56,477 10.56%
Total votes 534,966 100.00%
Democratic hold


2004 West Virginia gubernatorial election Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin 149,362 52.73%
Democratic Lloyd M. Jackson II 77,052 27.20%
Democratic Jim Lees 40,161 14.18%
Democratic Lacy Wright, Jr. 4,963 1.75%
Democratic Jerry Baker 3,009 1.06%
Democratic James A. Baughman 2,999 1.06%
Democratic Phillip Frye 2,892 1.02%
Democratic Lou Davis 2,824 1.00%
Total votes 283,262 100.00%
2004 West Virginia gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Manchin 472,758 63.51% +13.39%
Republican Monty Warner 253,131 34.00% -13.21%
Mountain Jesse Johnson 18,430 2.48% +0.87%
Write-in 114 0.02% +0.01%
Margin of victory 219,627 29.50% +26.58%
Total votes 744,433
Democrat hold Swing


2008 West Virginia gubernatorial election Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin (incumbent) 264,775 74.62%
Democratic Mel Kessler 90,074 25.38%
Total votes 354,849 100.00%
2008 West Virginia gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Manchin (incumbent) 492,697 69.81% +6.30%
Republican Russ Weeks 181,612 25.73% -8.27%
Mountain Jesse Johnson 31,486 4.46% +1.99%
Margin of victory 311,085 44.08% +14.57%
Total votes 705,795 100%
Democratic hold Swing


2010 United States Senate special election in West Virginia Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin 67,498 72.9%
Democratic Ken Hechler 16,039 17.3%
Democratic Sheirl Fletcher 9,035 9.8%
Total votes 92,572 100.0%
2010 United States Senate special election in West Virginia results
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Manchin 283,358 53.47% -10.96%
Republican John Raese 230,013 43.40% +9.69%
Mountain Jesse Johnson 10,152 1.92% +0.06%
Constitution Jeff Becker 6,425 1.21% N/A
Majority 53,345 10.07%
Total votes 529,948 100%
Democrat hold


2012 United States Senate election in West Virginia Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin (incumbent) 163,891 79.9%
Democratic Sheirl Fletcher 41,118 20.1%
Total votes 205,009 100%
2012 United States Senate election in West Virginia
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Manchin (incumbent) 399,908 60.57% +7.10%
Republican John Raese 240,787 36.47% -6.93%
Mountain Bob Henry Baber 19,517 2.96% +1.04%
Total votes 660,212 100.0% N/A
Democrat hold


2018 United States Senate election in West Virginia Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin (incumbent) 112,658 69.86%
Democratic Paula Jean Swearengin 48,594 30.14%
Total votes 161,252 100%
2018 United States Senate election in West Virginia
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Manchin (incumbent) 290,510 49.57% -11.0%
Republican Patrick Morrisey 271,113 46.26% +9.79%
Libertarian Rusty Hollen 24,411 4.17% N/A
Total votes 586,034 100% N/A
Democrat hold
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