Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is actively annoying Joe Biden every way he can. This has led Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) to say: "He's running for something. I don't know what it is. He's going to have a tough race. I think West Virginia's redder than we are in Alabama. So he's going to put his best foot forward for a year and a half. We gotta think he's going to run." Tuberville doesn't know, but that makes some sense. If Manchin wants to get reelected in deep red West Virginia, he needs something to show to the voters.
One thing is that he keeps giving Biden a tough time. A second thing is that he can get stuff done. He is currently working on energy issues and might just get House Republicans to work with him so they can show the voters in 2024 that they aren't just a bunch of clowns. Manchin has a history of brokering bipartisan deals, so it is entirely possible that he could break the deadlock and get a bill or two passed. One of his pet projects is permiting reform. Under current practice, when a company wants to build a pipeline or other energy-related project, if opponents of the project can find a nice owl anywhere near it, they can hold it up in the courts for 10 years. He wants to end that and have permits either be granted or rejected within a year. No more dragging it out forever. Many Republicans and even some Democrats will go for that, so he might be able to put together a bipartisan bill on that, especially if the argument is to make America less dependent on foreign energy.
Tuberville may well have a point. If Manchin was planning on retiring, he wouldn't be working so furiously to tweak Biden and trying to get some legislation through Congress. That seems to indicate that Manchin is planning to run for something. But it could be for the open governor's mansion, which might be easier than having to compete with Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) in a Senate race. On the other hand, being governor of a small and impoverished state whose only industry is dying is kind of a step down from being the key vote on everything in the United States Senate. The only person who knows is Manchin, and he's not talking. (V)