West Virginia governor joins GOP
by Evan Wilt
Posted 8/04/17, 12:41 pm
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Thursday he could no longer serve his state as a Democrat and plans to register as a Republican. The 66-year-old former businessman made the announcement in front of 9,000 supporters of President Donald Trump at a rally in Huntington, W.Va. Justice’s party switch is his second in as many years: The former Republican became a Democrat in 2015 when he decided to run for governor. He won last November with just 49 percent of the vote. Trump outpaced Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 40 points on the same ballot. In May 2016, 77 percent of West Virginia’s Republican primary voters chose Trump. The governor, who has met with Trump twice at the White House to discuss manufacturing and coal proposals, said he shares a lot in common with the president. Both men have net worths exceeding $1 billion and are serving their first term in elected office. “This man is a good man. He’s got a backbone. He’s got real ideas,” Justice said standing next to Trump at the rally. “He cares about America. He cares about us in West Virginia.” Justice’s decision leaves Democrats in only 15 of 50 governors mansions. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and state Treasurer John Perdue are the last remaining West Virginia Democrats elected statewide. Manchin is up for reelection in 2018.
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Evan is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD reporter.