A billionaire West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate said he wouldn’t support Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s White House bid because of her “completely wrong” position on coal.
Pro-coal businessman Jim Justice told MetroNews Monday he can’t support Clinton’s presidential run because “her position on coal is diametrically, completely wrong in many, many different ways.”
Clinton’s campaign has been sputtering in coal country ever since the nominee’s comments in March, suggesting she was going to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” She backtracked on the comments shortly thereafter, but not before the damage was done. She lost the state to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the primaries.
Justice, who also claims it is “foolish” for Democrats to give up on coal, is leading the West Virginia governor’s race and plans to support Democrats up-and-down the ballot.
“Everybody had their heads stuck in the sand and said, ‘It’s over.’ I’m the one that said, ‘Wait a minute. Full stop. I’m not willing to give up on our miners. Full stop,'” Justice told reporters. “I’m the one that said, ‘Really and truly, I believe there’s good days in front of us as far as the metallurgical market.'”
The brash businessman is fashioning himself as a Democratic version of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump: A straight shooting billionaire candidate working to upend the establishment. Justice’s shtick includes issuing seething criticism against those in his own party.
“Just because we have a specific person that’s running for the highest office in the land doesn’t mean that I’m going to just rubber-stamp it. I don’t rubber-stamp anybody,” Justice said.
He has parted ways with the Democratic Party on other issues as well, such as global warming and other environmental policies.
“Until we have really accurate data to prove (man-made global warming) I don’t think we need to blow our legs off on a concept,” Justice told the Register-Herald editorial board.
The Mountain State’s only billionaire defeated former U.S. attorney Booth Goodwin and West Virginia’s Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler in May and is now facing Trump-supporting Republican state Senate President Bill Cole for the governor’s office.
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