“You never know. You don’t know. There’s always a chance, absolutely,” Manchin, 73, told Politico.
“You better be prepared, that’s all I can say. And I’m being prepared,” he added.
Manchin entered the Senate in 2010 after serving as the governor and secretary of state in West Virginia.
Manchin survived a close race in 2018, beating West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey by about 3 percent in a state former President Donald Trump won easily in 2016 and 2020.
Manchin doesn’t think just any Democrat could keep the seat he holds, which plays a factor in his thinking.
“You get the right candidate and you have a national movement that basically shows that balance is working, bipartisanship is working and the country’s going in the right direction, sure,” Manchin said. “You’ve just got to work like hell.”
Manchin’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The consideration comes after he said in 2018 he would not run for another term.
In a 50-50 Senate, with Democrats holding a majority by one vote thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris, Manchin has emerged as the most likely Democrat to shut down some of his colleagues’ more radical propositions, from the federalization of elections to destroying the filibuster.
Republicans are angling to flip both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The party hopes to install a fleet of fresh faces to replace retiring lawmakers like Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.), even as they defend 20 seats to Democrats’ 14.
If they fail, the GOP has an even better chance of taking back the upper chamber in 2024. Democrats will be defending 21 seats, including Manchin’s, versus 10 for Republicans.
Manchin isn’t the only senator to consider reneging on a promise to step down.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), 66, whose term is due to end in early 2023, is weighing running again after previously saying he would not.
However, Johnson said last week that he may not be the best candidate for the 2022 midterm elections.
“You see what the media’s doing to me. I may not be the best candidate. I wouldn’t run if I don’t think I could win if I don’t think I was the best person to be able to win,” he said.