Joseph Manchin III (born August 24, 1947) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from West Virginia, a seat he has held since 2010. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 34th governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010 and the 27th secretary of state of West Virginia from 2001 to 2005.
Manchin has been described as a moderate or conservative Democrat. This has allowed him to continue to hold office in West Virginia even as the state shifted from being one of the most Democratic states in the country to one of the most Republican. He won the 2004 gubernatorial election by a large margin and was reelected by an even larger margin in 2008; in both years, Republican presidential candidates won West Virginia. Manchin won the special election with 54% of the vote in 2010 to fill the Senate seat vacated by incumbent Democrat Robert Byrd when he died in office. Manchin was elected to a full-term in 2012 with 61% of the vote and reelected with just under 50% of the vote in 2018. He became the state’s senior U.S. Senator when fellow Democrat Jay Rockefeller retired in 2015.
As a member of Congress, Manchin is known for his support of bipartisanship, voting or working with Republicans on issues such as abortion and gun ownership. He opposed the energy policies of President Barack Obama, voted against cloture for the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (he did not vote on the bill itself), voted to remove federal funding for Planned Parenthood in 2015, and voted to confirm most of President Donald Trump’s cabinet and judicial appointees, including Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. But he repeatedly voted against attempts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), voted to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood in 2017, and voted against the 2017 Republican tax plan. He vocally opposes policy proposals from the progressive wing of his party, including Medicare For All, abolishing the filibuster, increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court, and attempts to cut police funding. In foreign policy, he has repeatedly called for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and opposed most military interventions in Syria. Since 2017, Manchin has voted with Trump’s positions 52% of the time, the most of any Democrat in Congress.