Joseph "Joe" Manchin III (born August 24, 1947) is the junior United States Senator representing West Virginia. Manchin, a Democrat, was Governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010. He won the special election in November 2010 to fill the seat of Robert Byrd, who had died in office; the term ends January 3, 2013.
Manchin was born in Farmington, West Virginia, in 1947, the second of five children of Mary (née Gouzd) and John Manchin. His grandparents were Italian and Czechoslovakian immigrants. His father owned a carpet and furniture store. His grandfather, Joe Manchin I, owned a grocery store.
Both his father and his grandfather were elected as Mayor of Farmington, West Virginia. His uncle James Manchin was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and was elected statewide as West Virginia Secretary of State and West Virginia State Treasurer. He graduated from Farmington High School in 1965. Manchin entered West Virginia University on a football scholarship in 1965; however, an injury during practice ended his football career. He graduated in 1970 with a degree in information management and later became involved in several family-owned businesses.
Manchin was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1982 and moved up to the West Virginia Senate in 1986, where he served until 1996.
Manchin ran for governor in 1996 but finished second to Charlotte Pritt among a large group of candidates in the Democratic primary election. Manchin then ran for Secretary of State of West Virginia in 2000, winning easily.
Governor of West virginia
Manchin announced his intention to challenge incumbent governor Bob Wise in the 2004 Democratic primary election in May 2003, but Wise decided not to seek re-election after a scandal. To a second term in 2008, Manchin easily won re-election, capturing 70 % of the vote.
A Rasmussen Reports poll found Manchin leading in the potential 2010 special election for the seat against Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito and former West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland. On July 20, 2010 Manchin officially announced he would seek the Senate seat.
In the Democratic primary on August 28, he defeated former Congressman Ken Hechler. In the general election, he defeated Republican John Raese; the seat is next up for election in November 2012. In June, 2011, Manchin joined with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) seeking a crackdown on bitcoin currency, saying it facilitated illegal drug trade transactions. "The transactions leave no traditional money trail for investigators to follow, and leave it hard to prove a package recipient knew in advance what was in a shipment," using an "'anonymizing network' known as Tor." One opinion website said the senators' wanted "to disrupt the Silk Road drug website."
Manchin has been married since 1967 to the former Gayle Conelly, and they have three children: Heather, Joseph IV, and Brooke. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and a licensed pilot.
In 2006 and 2010 Manchin delivered commencement addresses at Wheeling Jesuit University and Davis & Elkins College. He received honorary degrees from both institutions.