West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice, is looking to “cross the floor” leaving the Democrat Party (under who he was elected last year) and join the Republicans. Three individual sources close to the action have confirmed that his official announcement will come out tonight.
It is a clear sign that states that supported President Trump in the election are solidifying the voter base. West Virginia was a clear (and has been for a long while) Republican state, and it was only through Justice’s sheer force of will that he managed to get elected on a Democrat ticket.
But voters are not as “ignorant” as the MSM makes them out to be. Justice has been open in his support of policies from all places along the spectrum. He is that odd rarity in American politics…Someone who puts country and principle before party allegiance.
Rumour has it that the “lonely Democrat”, Senator Joe Manchin, in West Virgina is also being courted by senior Republicans. He is receiving offers from both sides. Let’s hope that regardless of his political affiliation, he at least remains true to the people he represents.
WASHINGTON — Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia, a Democrat who was elected last year even as President Trump carried the state by 42 points, is expected to announce Thursday night at a rally with Mr. Trump that he is changing parties, according to three sources familiar with the plans.
Speaking to reporters in the White House Thursday, Mr. Trump promised “a very big announcement” at a gathering in Huntington, W.V., that is expected to draw thousands of supporters from across Appalachia, a region that gave Mr. Trump some of the largest margins of his election.
Mr. Justice, a billionaire coal and real estate magnate, ran as a conservative Democrat and declined to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016. But even as West Virginia has become a reliable Republican state in presidential elections and further down the ballot, a handful of Democrats have still been able to win office.
Mr. Justice, though, is said to have friendly relationships with some members of Mr. Trump’s family. And before entering politics he gave money to officeholders in both parties while variously registering as a Republican, Democrat, and independent.
Mr. Justice’s decision to change parties will further isolate Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat and himself a former governor. Mr. Manchin has resisted the entreaties of Republicans to change parties and add to the two-seat Senate majority. Some Trump administration officials, eyeing Mr. Manchin’s seat, also had hoped to put him in the cabinet, but he has declined all overtures. Now he must stand for re-election in 2018 without the help of a friendly governor.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, has paid close attention to Mr. Manchin since the election last year, offering him plum committee assignments.
In his first months as governor, Mr. Justice, a colorful and hulking figure who stands over six feet, seven inches, drew headlines beyond West Virginia’s border for bringing a plate of cow excrement into the state capitol to express his anger at a Republican-passed budget proposal.
“What we have is nothing more than bunch of political bull you-know-what,” Mr. Justice said, pulling the lid off a silver platter to reveal the scented prop atop a printed copy of the budget.
But the governor, who found his fortune with coal and now owns The Greenbrier resort, has also been dogged by some of the same financial issues that Republicans sought to use against him in last year’s campaign. The state tax department has filed four liens this year against of one of Mr. Justice’s companies, Tams Management Inc., citing nearly $1 million in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties related to his coal mines.
H/T: New York Times