West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice Enters Senate Race To Take On Joe Manchin

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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West Virginia’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice announced Thursday that he’s running for Senate in 2024 for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s seat.

The two-term GOP governor will have to go up against Republican Rep. Alex Mooney in the primary as they fight to take on Manchin, who has yet to announce a reelection bid. Justice declared his candidacy at The Greenbrier, the governor’s resort, where he drew on his record as governor with being pro-life, promoting parental rights in education, strengthening the Second Amendment and cutting taxes, he said in his speech.

“Tonight, I am officially announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate, and I absolutely will promise you to God above, that I will do the job, and I will do the job that will make you proud,” said Justice. “I mean it when I tell you I’m a patriot, I mean it when I tell you I love this country, and that’s all there is to it.”

The governor would beat Manchin 52% to 42%, respectively, while Mooney would lose by 15 points, according to a February Tarrance Group poll. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who ran against Manchin in 2018 and lost, has announced he is running for governor. (RELATED: ‘Big RINO’: GOP Rep Goes After His Own Governor As Senate Race Heats Up)

Justice and Mooney, the latter of whom is endorsed by conservative group Club for Growth, are both vying for an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. The governor is more popular than the congressman among West Virginia’s likely GOP primary voters with 78% support to 48%, respectively, and is up by 31 points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, according to a March National Public Affairs poll.

“West Virginia voters want a principled conservative like Alex Mooney who will fight the out-of-control spending and woke policies coming from Washington,” Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The fact is Jim Justice is Mitch McConnell’s handpicked candidate, and would support the reckless spending that Manchin voted for and more. We expect the former Democrat to do great with the small number of Republican primary voters who are pro-inflation and supported Justice’s push for the largest tax increase in the history of West Virginia.”

The two-term GOP governor has been inching toward a Senate bid since November, and has been meeting with top Republicans like Montana Sen. Steve Daines, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Justice also put his family’s coal business up for sale in preparation for a campaign launch.

Justice did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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