Sen. Joe Manchin III, W.Va., seen here in February, announced Friday he has changed his registration to independent. Matt McClain/The Washington Post

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia announced Friday that he has changed his party registration to independent, fueling speculation he could run for office again in November after announcing his retirement last year.

“My commitment to do everything I can to bring our country together has led me to register as an independent with no party affiliation,” Manchin wrote on X.

Manchin did not immediately say anything about his political plans. But the move allows him to possibly reconsider his plan to not seek reelection – or to run for governor, a job he previously held.

Aug. 1 is the deadline for independent candidates to file for office in West Virginia.

The centrist senator announced in November 2023 that he would not run for another term, handing Republicans a likely pickup seat in solidly red West Virginia. The GOP nominee for the seat is the state’s governor, Jim Justice.

For months, Manchin flirted with running for president as an independent or third-party candidate, worrying Democrats who anticipated a close rematch between President Biden and former president Donald Trump. But Manchin announced in February that he would “not be involved in a presidential run” this year.

Speculation has picked up in recent weeks that Manchin may be mulling a return to the governor’s office, though he reportedly said this week he would not enter the race. He said he is supporting the Democratic nominee, Steve Williams.

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