Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Tuesday he will remain in the Senate rather than joining President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.
“Right now, I believe that I can best serve my state of West Virginia in the United States Senate,” Manchin said in a statement.
Manchin didn’t say whether he turned down an offer from Trump or was told he was out of the running for the post.
Manchin could face a tough re-election battle in West Virginia in 2018. Republicans are likely to target his seat, as well as those held by Democrats in reliably red states Indiana, Missouri, Montana and North Dakota, as the party seeks to gain a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Staying in the Senate means Democrats will likely have 48 seats to Republicans’$2 52-seat majority, depending on whether Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who also met with Trump, goes into the new administration.
His decision comes the day after retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, threw Manchin under the bus with Democrats, telling CNN that “Joe Manchin is obviously running for a Cabinet spot.”
Manchin is among the Senate’s most conservative Democrats, and has broken with the party in supporting the coal industry and opposing climate regulations. He had met with the President-elect at Trump Tower last week.
“I had a very productive and informative meeting with President-elect Trump. I was honored that the President-elect asked me to meet with him and discuss ways we can work together and improve the lives of millions of Americans, and the hard-working people of West Virginia. I was humbled to be considered for the Secretary of Energy position,” Manchin said in his statement.
“I have dedicated my life in public service to doing what is best for the people of West Virginia. Right now, I believe that I can best serve my state of West Virginia in the United States Senate,” he said.
Manchin also called on both parties to work with Trump.
“I hope all Americans join me in working with President-elect Trump in a bipartisan way to bring our country together and make it successful. I am committed to working with President Trump and his Administration to find commonsense solutions to pass the Miners Protection Act, solve our opioid crisis, rebuild our infrastructure, reform our broken tax code, keep faith with our veterans and build an economy that works for all Americans,” he said.