Governor Justice Jumping to GOP, Leaders React

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice is switching to the Republican Party only seven months after beginning his term as a Democrat, MetroNews confirmed Thursday.

The New York Times first reported Justice’s switch, hours after Trump promised “a very big announcement” to reporters in Washington, D.C.

The official unveiling is expected Thursday night during President Trump’s rally in Huntington, his latest return to the state he carried by 42 points in last November’s election.

Justice has not emphasized party affiliation during his seven months in office or during his campaign. He declined to endorse Hillary Clinton for president, criticized national Democrat leaders and has spoken glowingly about Trump.

“We’re good friends,” Justice said of Trump in an April interview, “and I think he’s battling the battle and doing all that he can do, or he’s trying as hard as he can try.”

Larry Puccio, the former chairman of the state Democratic Party and an adviser to Justice, addressed the political fallout to MetroNews:

“The governor and I have been friends for a long time and sometimes we just disagree on things, but I wish him the very best.”

This is not the first party switch for Justice.  He changed his affiliation from Republican to Democrat in early 2015, just a few months before announcing his gubernatorial candidacy.

“The Republican Party is thrilled that the governor of West Virginia has realized that our principles and goals are what will propel West Virginia forward,” Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R, Jackson) said. “The governor has finally made the break to embrace those principles.”

Kris Warner, Republican National Committeeman for West Virginia, was also pleased with Justice’s decision.  “The West Virginia Republican Party welcomes Governor Justice with open arms and appreciates that he understand and will stand up for our conservative values,” said Warner.

Democratic leader, as you might expect, were surprised and disappointed.

“I’m disappointed,” said Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso (D, Marion). “He ran as a Democrat and the Democratic Party supported him. I think he should be true to the people.”

However, Prezioso said policy will have to trump politics. “Whether he’s a Democrat or a Republican, he’s going to have to make the best decisions in the best interests of the people of the state.”

House Minority Leader Tim Miley (D, Harrison) was also more philosophical.  “While it’s always nice to have a Governor from your same political party, the fact has always been that the Democratic caucus’s support or opposition to policy is based on the merit of the proposal, not whether the legislation came from a Democratic or Republican Governor,” he said.

~~  Hoppy Kercheval ~~

Now, is he a good guy or bad one?

Comment by wondering?  on  08.04.2017
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