This afternoon, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announced that he will not seek reelection. One day prior, someone filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to create the Draft Romney Manchin Committee. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also is not seeking reelection.
The Daily Dot confirmed that the filing is legitimate.
An advisor to the committee told the Daily Dot that it is not directly affiliated with either men. The advisor, who requested anonymity, said its goal is to raise funds to conduct polling to demonstrate that there is a path to the White House for a Romney/Manchin ticket under the No Labels movement. They further said that Romney would run as president; Manchin as vice president.
It is common for individuals or groups to create fundraising committees in the hopes of convincing a candidate or candidates to run for office.
Manchin’s press office declined to comment on the filing. Romney’s office did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Thursday afternoon.
The filing shows that the Draft Romney Manchin Committee was created on Nov. 8. The treasurer custodian of records is listed as Philip C. Swain of Boston, Massachusetts; the chair is listed as Jennifer Franks, also of Boston. No one immediately replied to voicemails left at the phone numbers listed for either individuals in the filing.
The area codes for the phone numbers on the FEC filing match those of Boston.
Records show that there is an attorney named Philip C. Swain in Boston. The phone number on his profile on Attorneys.org does not precisely match the one on the filing. Swain did not return a voicemail seeking comment.
Lawyers are often chosen as treasurers of political committees.
Romney was formerly the governor of Massachusetts.
Although they are from different political parties, Manchin and Romney are longtime allies in the Senate. Just this morning, they appeared together on MSNBC to tout their bipartisan Fiscal Stability Act, which has the stated goal of reducing the national debt.
Both men are also outliers in their parties. Romney is one of few Republicans who has taken a public stance against former President Donald Trump. Manchin has similarly gone against his Democratic colleagues on multiple issues over the years.
Romney may have hinted at the possibility of a political future for both men after news that Manchin isn’t running for reelection broke.
“I will miss this American patriot in the Senate,” Romney posted on X. “But our friendship and our commitment to American values will not end.”
Manchin’s comments on his future also potentially teased that he isn’t done with the political arena just yet.
In a video statement posted on X, he said that he plans to “mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.”
Manchin also said, “I know our country isn’t as divided as Washington wants us to believe. We share common values of family, freedom, democracy, dignity and a belief that together we can overcome any challenge.”
In July, the Daily Dot reported that Manchin was not ruling out running for president. Last month, the Associated Press reported that Manchin again hinted that he might run for president as an independent candidate.
Romney previously ran for president in 2012.
The timing of the Draft Manchin Romney Committee and other factors, including statements by both men, will certainly fuel speculation and possibly hopes that Manchin and Romney are running for president and vice president.