WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced Friday he has registered as an independent, raising questions about his future political plans.

Manchin, who would have faced a tough reelection in November if he had chosen to run, has long been an outspoken critic of the Democratic Party and an obstacle to many of President Joe Biden’s legislative priorities.

Manchin has served in the Senate since 2010. He serves as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He said in a statement that over the last 15 years he has seen both major political parties leave their constituents “behind for partisan extremism while jeopardizing our democracy.”

“Today, our national politics are broken and neither party is willing to compromise to find common ground,” Manchin said. “To stay true to myself and remain committed to put country before party, I have decided to register as an independent with no party affiliation and continue to fight for America’s sensible majority.”

But his announcement left many questions unanswered. Manchin did not disclose if he will continue caucusing with Democrats in the Senate, where they hold a slim majority. And he did not indicate if he will be running for higher office in the near future.

A request for further comment from his office was not immediately returned.

Manchin announced in February that he would not be running for president, saying he didn’t want to be a “spoiler.”

“I will not be seeking a third-party run,” he said in a speech at West Virginia University. “I will not be involved in a presidential run. I will be involved in making sure that we secure a president that has the knowledge and has the passion and has the ability to bring this country together.”

The speech was billed as part of a national listening tour Manchin announced when he decided not to seek another Senate term. He told the Morgantown audience that he had no interest in being “a deal-breaker, if you will, a spoiler, whatever you want to call it.”

“I just don’t think it’s the right time,” he said then.

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