Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) has been rumored to be President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Energy in order to free up his Senate seat.
Trump wants Manchin's seat open so it can be filled by Gov. Jim Justice, who recently changed party affiliations and became a Republican, so that a Republican can fill Manchin's seat in order to vote for a repeal of Obamacare, Bloomberg reports:
If Manchin were offered and accepted the position, that would allow West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice — a newly minted Republican — to appoint a GOP successor and bring the party a vote closer in the Senate to being able to repeal Obamacare. The idea is in the early stages of consideration, and it’s unclear whether it has support within the administration, according to the people, who described the conversations under condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for Manchin declined to say whether the senator would take the Energy secretary job — currently held by former Texas Governor Rick Perry — if offered.
"Senator Manchin has not had any recent conversations with the Administration about the Secretary of Energy position. He remains committed to serving the people of West Virginia," said Jonathan Kott.
If this occurred, Perry could potentially take another role elsewhere in the Trump administration.
Manchin was reportedly Trump's first pick for the position, but Manchin wouldn't accept because he was not promised he would be allowed to pick his own staff, according to sources. Manchin would be an acceptable pick to Republicans due to his favorable stance toward coal.
Manchin is up for reelection in 2018, in what is considered to be a tough race for Manchin. Trump crushed Hillary Clinton in West Virginia in the 2016 election.