West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has officially jumped political parties. Justice entered President Donald Trump’s rally in Huntington as a Democrat, but left a Republican and not everyone’s happy about it.
“Today [Thursday] I tell you as West Virginians, I can’t help you anymore being a democrat governor,” Justice told the crowd at the rally. “So, tomorrow [Friday] I will be changing my registration to republican.”
Justice made the “shocking” announcement at the rally in Huntington Thursday, but most residents were surprised that he was able to make this switch.
“The people were counting on him in that party, but now he switches,” said Ohio Valley resident Susie Callihan. “I’d kind of lose faith in him.”
“That’s very unethical,” OV Resident JoAnn Voyiatt said. “He should not be allowed to do that, he should have to fill his term, and then if he chooses to change parties; he should be able to change his party.”
Former Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Party Chris Regan tells me he wasn’t too amazed by the move, considering Justice was a Republican as recently as 2015 before being persuaded to run as a Democrat.
“What was surprising was that he switched into the Democratic party to take advantage of it,” Regan told 7News. “Now that he finds things aren’t going his way he’s going to switch the other way. Maybe that’s just part of being a billionaire is you’re used to getting your way, and when the going got tough he wanted to be with the winning side.”
Regan also believes there should be some type of special election in the coming year so the people of West Virginia can choose a Democrat or Republican.
“Now if he wants to run as a Republican, he wins, great,” said Regan. “But should we really have 41 months of somebody who has switched from everything they told people during the campaign, to the opposite on so many issues.”
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin released a statement saying, “I have been and always will be a proud West Virginia Democrat. I am disappointed by Governor Justice’s decision to switch parties. While I do not agree with his decision, I have always said that I will work with anyone, no matter their political affiliation, to do what is best for the people of West Virginia.”
His Republican counterpart Shelley Moore Capito welcomed Justice with open arms saying, “The Republican Party represents the future of West Virginia. Today, Governor Justice joins me and other Republican leaders in Congress and at the state level who stand for policies that will improve the lives of West Virginians. As the lead Republican in West Virginia, I stand ready to work with him to grow the economy, fight for energy jobs, and create a stronger West Virginia.”
Northern Panhandle Delegate Shawn Fluharty tells 7News exclusively, “It’s fitting the political circus continues in West Virginia. While the Northern Panhandle recovers from devastating flooding and an opioid epidemic ravishes our entire state, we’re holding political rallies only eight months after an election. There was a time when our leaders were defined by principles regardless of party and not shifting political winds. Sadly, that time is gone.”