Sen. Joe Manchin is keeping the nation guessing on his future plans, and one person has emerged as the West Virginia Democrat’s closest confidant as he charts a political course that could shake Washington: his daughter, Heather Manchin.
Since stepping down as the CEO of pharmaceutical company Mylan, where she became the first woman to run a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company, she has been heavily involved in her father’s political dealings, serving as a top adviser, according to three people close to the family.
It comes as Manchin, 76, openly flirts with a third-party run for president, having been courted by No Labels, the centrist group, as it seeks to present an alternative to voters shuddering at the prospect of a Biden-Trump rematch. Manchin has also kept the door open to a Senate re-election bid in heavily Republican West Virginia in 2024, when the state will be one of the GOP’s top targets as the party tries to flip the chamber.
And now, Heather Manchin, 56, is also launching her own centrist nonprofit group, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, pitching donors on a $100 million project that would boost middle-of-the-road candidates and policies.
She insists that the effort is entirely separate from her father.
“I love and support my father in whatever he decides to do,” Heather Manchin told NBC News in a statement. “But this effort is entirely independent of him because it’s bigger than him or any one person.”
She is closely involved in the senator’s decision-making and has maintained frequent contact with not only Manchin, but also his Senate staff, according to the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A spokesperson for Joe Manchin declined to comment.