West Virginia Governor Jim Justice switched parties tonight before President Trump gave his speech increasing the number of Republican governors to 34.
RT Pamela_Moore13: WVGovernor Jim Justice announces he’s changing parties to become a Republican pic.twitter.com/FdzfGhguiS
— Ex-GOP Ronin!™ (@ShawDeuce) August 3, 2017
Source: Associated Press
The governor is expected to publicly announce his decision Thursday evening at a campaign rally with the president.
Justice was elected in November with just 49 percent of the vote, 20 percentage points behind Trump’s total in the presidential contest in the state. Trump won 77 percent of West Virginia’s Republican primary voters in May.
The president promised throughout the campaign to resurrect the lagging coal industry that has declined amid changing energy markets, leaving many West Virginia communities devastated. The industry and many of its workers have blamed the decline mostly on former President Barack Obama and his environmental policies.
Justice’s defection leaves Democrats with just 15 governors among 50 states.
In West Virginia, his jump is another blow for Democrats in a state they once ran without opposition. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and state Treasurer John Perdue will be the remaining statewide elected Democrats. Manchin is up for re-election in 2018, one of 10 Democratic senators running in states Trump won, a dynamic that gives Democrats an uphill path to reclaiming a Senate majority.
Some West Virginia faithful aren’t too happy with the switch as they still regard him as a Democrat:
I don’t know how much this is going to make a difference in West Virginia, but we’ll see what happens when the time comes.
How do you feel about elected officials changing their party after being elected instead of changing it before running for that seat? Share your opinions below in the comment section.