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Sen. Joe Manchin eyed to replace Rick Perry as energy secretary: Report

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A spokesman for Manchin declined to confirm whether the senator would take the Energy Department post. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

White House and Republican officials are looking at Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as a candidate to take the top spot at the Energy Department, as a plan is being looked at moving Energy Secretary Rick Perry to lead the Homeland Security Department.

Bloomberg reported the news citing four people familiar with the discussions.

A spokesman for Manchin declined to confirm whether the senator would take the Energy Department post that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has occupied for months.

"Senator Manchin has not had any recent conversations with the Administration about the Secretary of Energy position. He remains committed to serving the people of West Virginia," said spokesman Jonathan Kott.

Manchin had been considered for the energy post in the past, as he faces a tough re-election battle in 2018. Bloomberg reported that his nomination as energy secretary collapsed in part because President Trump would not assure him that he could pick his own staff, according to two people familiar with the staff selection process.

News reports circulated late last month that said Perry was being considered for the top spot at the Department of Homeland Security, given that John Kelly moved from the agency to become Trump's new chief of staff.

Sources close to Trump's energy transition team told the Washington Examiner that Perry's selection for homeland security is credible because the Energy Department was never Perry's first choice. He had wanted a post in the Department of Defense. The thinking now within the administration is that Perry may be up for homeland security as a compromise between the two, since the security post is closer to a defense position than energy secretary. But no one is sure exactly how this will shake out.

Perry tweeted earlier Friday that he is continuing his tour of the Energy Department's national lab complexes and will be in Washington state next week.