West Virginia Governor Justice To Take On Manchin in Upcoming Senate Race

by Joshua Brown
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West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, who is a Republican, said on Thursday that he will be running for the U.S. Senate seat of Democrat Joe Manchin in 2024. This could create a tight election between two well-known political figures from the state.

Justice, a wealthy businessman who cannot become the governor for a third time in a row, made an announcement at his luxurious resort on his 72nd birthday. Everyone showed him their approval and applause by standing up from their seats. He then assured everyone that he will do his job properly and make them feel proud.

At the announcement, two important people showed up – Senator Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia and Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina. Earlier in the day, Governor Justice filed a document on the Federal Election Commission’s website to let everyone know that he is running to become a senator.

Steve Daines, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Jim Justice is doing very well. He’s creating lots of jobs, lowering taxes and standing up for people who have conservative beliefs. Because of all this he’s become popular with a lot of people!

Joe Manchin and Jim Justice used to be friends, but their friendship has been broken since six years ago. Joe said he will decide his future political plans in December. Before Jim made any announcement, Joe already warned him on Thursday morning.

Manchin said in a statement that his main goals are to reduce the price of healthcare, keep Social Security and Medicare running, increase energy security in America, and balance the budget. He also stated that no matter what he enters, he will be victorious.

Records from the last election that Manchin was in show he had over $9.7 million for his campaign. If Manchin decides to run for reelection, it looks like this might be the most difficult race of his 30 year political career in West Virginia. But it wasn’t going to be easy anyway.

Joe Manchin is the only Democratic politician in West Virginia who was elected after 2017. In 2024, he is running for reelection. Donald Trump won his state in the 2020 election. Earlier this month, Governor Jim Justice criticized Biden’s policies but did not talk about Manchin at all.

Justice said, “We need to work together as Republicans so we can win for our nation. Let’s join forces and make sure we reach the finish line – together! We can do this”.

Justice plans to run in the 2024 GOP primary against U.S. Rep Alex Mooney who started his own race for the Senate less than two weeks after he won his fifth term in the House. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who failed to beat Manchin in 2018, is running for governor next year.

Mooney’s campaign recently launched a 30-second political ad criticizing Justice’s actions during his time as governor.

No one from the Democratic Party has said they are going to challenge West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin yet. But because he is conservative and changed some of President Joe Biden’s plans for social spending, Bernie Sanders from Vermont said he might support someone else who runs against Joe Manchin.

When Governor Justice was in office, he took advantage of President Trump’s popularity in West Virginia. He was first elected as a Democrat, but then flipped to the Republican Party seven months later at an event with Trump. Justice kept his party switch even from his own staff and told Manchin about it just one day before the announcement. Manchin said he was very disappointed by Justice’s move.

Ever since they became opponents, Jim Justice and Joe Manchin have been arguing back and forth. In 2019, Justice said Manchin was a noisy ‘Washington liberal’ who didn’t like Trump and blamed him for the bad roads in West Virginia. Manchin hit back by saying that it’s no surprise to him that Justice blames others instead of taking action himself.

Justice is known for his fun and sometimes strange way of speaking. Whenever he goes to important events, he’s always accompanied by his beloved English bulldog named Babydog. This happened again on Thursday when he gave a speech. He even used Babydog during the speech when he showed Babydog’s bottom to the cameras as an answer to singer Bette Midler who had said something bad about people living in West Virginia. Basically, Justice was telling Bette that she kiss Babydog’s butt for criticizing West Virginia residents.

The legislators gave Justice a big applause. He sometimes likes to say that one should be proud of the place they come from. In January 2023, Justice suggested that the state’s personal income tax should be cut and he was encouraged by the leaders to do something really significant about it.

The governor announced that he was going to make a big effect with something he called the West Virginia tsunami. After considering everyone’s ideas, lawmakers agreed on a tax cut of 21.25%, and then the Governor finally signed it in early March.

Before entering politics, Justice purchased the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs which was 6,500 acres (2,630 hectares) for $20.1 million. He quickly built a casino underground below the 721-room hotel and hosted a PGA Tour golf tournament at the Old White TPC course that lasted 10 years.

Justice used to be a billionaire and had his wealth peak at around 1.7 billion dollars. However, he was taken off the Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2021 because of a U.K. bank that he thought tricked him into promising 700 million dollars as a guarantee for loans taken out by one of his companies.

Justice’s businesses were dealing with lots of problems, like paying money to the federal government for hurting the law and having arguments in court because they refused to pay tax debts to counties or give money for employee’s monthly benefits.

One time when someone asked about how Justice controlled his cash flow in his business, he answered them by saying that he doesn’t hold a lot of money hidden away somewhere (like a pot of gold).

When he first became the governor of West Virginia, he chose to stay at his home in Lewisburg rather than going to the government center in Charleston. Because of this, a politician filed a lawsuit against him and called him a “part-time governor”. The case ended in 2021 when Justice decided to move and live in Charleston.

Soon after being elected as justice, it was made clear that he would still be coaching the girls basketball team at Greenbrier East High School. He has been working as a coach there for over 20 years and even led them to winning the state championship in 2012. We’ll have to wait and see if he will keep coaching if he becomes senator of the United States.

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