On Thursday, West Virginia Democratic Governor Jim Justice switched parties, according to three sources cited by The New York Times. Justice just confirmed this while we were writing this article.
This event is expected to take place in Huntington, West Virginia. Trump teased earlier stating, “We’re going to West Virginia tonight, by the way. We’re going to have a very big announcement, which will be very exciting I think for the media and everyone else.”
West Virginia used to be a Democratic stronghold but over the years, it seemed to have switched to Republican. West Virginia is where Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election by a landslide with 67 percent of the vote.
Justice’s decision to switch parties comes as Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, is up for reelection in 2018 and would make Manchin the only statewide elected Democrat.
Justice’s party switch would increase the advantage of Republican governors over Democrats, to 34 to 15. This is the highest number the Republicans have controlled since the early 1920s.
Similar to Trump, Justice is a billionaire who inherited a coal and corn farming business from his father. He is also a newcomer to politics who was elected in November 2016.
This isn’t the first time Justice switched parties. He used to be an independent and a Republican until 2015 when he ran for governor as a Democrat.
Below is Justice announcing his change:
— ABC News (@ABC) August 3, 2017