(CNN)Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said Friday he will not join the Trump administration at a town hall in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin staying out of Trump administration
According to a spokesperson from his office, Manchin told the crowd that would not be taking a Cabinet position, but instead will continue to work with the Trump White House in his capacity as a senator.
Manchin, a moderate Democrat, representing a state that overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, is up for re-election in 2018. Speculation about Manchin making a move to the Trump administration ramped up when the President visited West Virginia at the beginning of August and announced that the state's Democratic governor Jim Justice was switching parties to become a Republican.
Trump's Cabinet currently has an opening after former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly left the agency to become the White House chief of staff. One possible scenario would've been for current Energy Secretary Rick Perry to move to helm DHS, opening the door for Manchin to take over as Energy secretary. Energy secretary is an attractive opportunity for Manchin who hails from a coal-rich state.
If Manchin left the Senate, Justice would be able to appoint a Republican replacement, giving Trump and the GOP one more vote for big issues like health care and tax reform.