West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice Switches to Republican Party

LIVE STREAM: Donald Trump Rally in Huntington, West Virginia

Right now, being aligned with Trump in West Virginia is a good thing.

"Today I will tell you as West Virginians, I can't help you anymore being a Democrat governor", he said.

"Having big Jim as a Republican is such an honor, I will tell you, such an honor".

Trump said that the Russian Federation story makes Democrats "feel better", and repeated his call for investigating Clinton's private email server.

"We didn't win because of Russian Federation, we won because of you", Trump said at a raucous campaign rally. "Thank you Jim, very much", said Trump.

The governor should be a Republican, said Delegate Frank Deem, R-Wood, adding as an oil and gas producer, he supports Trump and what the president has done for the industry and for coal.

Justice's announcement was made under the cover of virtual secrecy, according to Democratic Party officials, who said the governor did not inform the party nor did he inform his own staff before the news became public. The president said Democrats were "cheating" American voters by obsessing over the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election and told his supporters that they are "on the side of the special interest".

Jim Justice announced he is switching party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. "The DGA welcomes Jim Justice to the West Virginia governor's race", said Elisabeth Pearson, executive director of the DGA. He will always put his financial interests above the needs of West Virginians. Justice said Friday he believes the change also will help him at the White House, where he recently presented proposals for an environmental subsidy for hardwood forests and a homeland security incentive for coal mines. "He showed the country that our agenda rises above left or right", he said.

"It just makes them feel better when they have nothing else to talk about", he said.

President Trump had teased to reporters earlier Thursday that a "big announcement" was taking place at his rally. He argued that "what the prosecutors should be looking at are Hillary Clinton's 33,000 deleted emails".

Manchin is very popular in the state that is solidly Republican in national races but split fairly evenly in statewide and local contests.

President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail on Thursday evening in West Virginia, touting gains in the stock market and saying that his administration has already kept its campaign promises to coal workers. Working class, blue-collar voters, the make-up of coal country West Virginia, aren't content to simply push the Democratic ballot buttons because of histories, say, with liberal-voting unions.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, said her party represents the state's future and she's ready to work with Justice to grow the economy and fight for energy jobs.

The announcement was so tightly held that even some Republicans seems to have been caught unaware.

If Justice moves across the aisle as reported, it would increase the advantage of Republican governors over Democrats to 34 to 15.

"We look forward to a new beginning as the governor now embraces the Republican Party".

Justice, a coal magnate and the wealthiest man in West Virginia, first won office a year ago.

Justice noted that he had been in the Oval Office of the White House with Trump two times in the last two weeks, talking to the president about coal and manufacturing jobs.

"Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign, there never were".

Justice said he has no beef with state GOP leaders. "When was the last time we heard that?"

With that mocking cry, delivered from the bosom of an adoring West Virginia crowd, President Donald Trump offered the most explicit glimpse yet of how he plans to cope with the spreading net of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

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