Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democratic West Virginia, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill earlier this month in Washington, DC.
CNN  — 

Sen. Joe Manchin has wielded his power more than any other senator in the 50-50 Senate – but whether he wants to do it for six more years is still a question.

The moderate West Virginia Democrat told CNN Thursday he is undecided on whether he wants to run for another term in 2024 when he undoubtedly would be the biggest GOP target given the sharply conservative tilt of his state.

“I haven’t made any decisions on that,” said Manchin, 75. “I’m looking for 2022. I’ll look and see how this election comes out and where we stand and what we can do, what we can get done.”

Manchin, a former governor, state legislator and college football player, added he’s not too concerned about the prospects of losing what would almost certainly be a bruising race in a state that former President Donald Trump won by nearly 40 points two years ago.

“If they defeat me, I get to go home,” he said. “That’s my consolation.”

And he added of the seat he’s held for a dozen years: “This is not the best job in the world. I can assure you I’ve had better jobs.”

When Manchin helped ensure that President Joe Biden’s sweeping Build Back Better bill went down to defeat this Congress and stood firm against relentless Democratic calls to gut the filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation and other bills, he earned enormous GOP praise and became an enemy of the left. But after he cut a deal this summer with Biden to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, a major law to pour hundreds of billions into energy programs, give the federal government more power over controlling drug prices and raise taxes on big corporations, the tune among Republicans markedly changed.

“It hurt (his credibility among Republicans) a lot because he gave it up so easily for so little,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, said Thursday. “I think it was more than anything it was a reflection of a lack of judgment that caused a lot of people to sort of wonder.”

In a bid of political payback, Republicans lined up against his effort to pass legislation to ease the permitting process for major energy projects, including a pipeline in his state – even though many in the GOP support the idea of expediting the environmental review process as the bill aims to do. Manchin cut the deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as he negotiated the Inflation Reduction Act and had hoped to attach it to a government funding bill that passed the Senate on Thursday. But Republicans rejected the effort – in large part because it came as the result of Manchin’s bidding.

“There’s no question the dynamic of how this played out – the way it was crafted between two people – it really rubbed a lot of people, really on both sides, the wrong way,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune, adding there were “substantive” policy concerns about the Manchin plan as well.

Back home, some Republicans are already weighing a run against him in two years – including Rep. Alex Mooney, a West Virginia Republican who has cut an ad attacking Manchin over his Inflation Reduction Act vote.

“That is an after-November decision,” Mooney told CNN when asked about a potential run for Manchin’s seat.

Other senators too, have tough choices to make after November.

Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat from the red state of Montana, said in an interview on Thursday he would decide on whether to run for a fourth term sometime after January.

He said he’s not worried about a difficult race in a state that Trump won by 16 points.

“I’m worried about staying here until I’m 70 or 74,” said Tester, who is 66.

For Manchin, his record will come under scrutiny if he decides to run again. In interviews this week, Manchin defended his handling of major issues this year and said he was straight with Republicans that if he found a deal that he believed was beneficial to his state, he’d support it.

“They were elated on BBB, to get rid of that,” Manchin said, referring to his opposition to Biden’s Build Back Better plan. “They were elated on defending the living daylights out of the filibuster, taking every area you possibly could. So I understand that, and when things don’t (work out), people are upset about that, things are said. We’re all friends, but you know what? We get along. Tomorrow will be another day.”

Manchin contended that’s he’s not concerned about the political ramifications of his vote for the Inflation Reduction Act.

“I never worry about that,” Manchin said. “If I said, ‘Oh well, it might hurt me’ – I’m not here for that reason. It’s not who I am. … If for whatever reason you think it hurts your politics, but you know you’ve done the right thing, it’s a pretty good night. You can go home and sleep.”

Manchin, who is occupying the seat of the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest-serving senator in history, said he’s fully aware how the tide can turn in the often-chummy body.

“I’ve been around long enough that you can be the hero one night and the villain the next morning,” Manchin said. “I understand that.”