Republicans, Trump Jr. signal support for embattled West Virginia governor

Republicans, Trump Jr. signal support for embattled West Virginia governor
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The Republican Governors Association (RGA) held a fundraiser for West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) on Thursday as the embattled governor faces calls from within his adopted party to resign.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), who heads the RGA, along with Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpWhite House condemns violent video Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics WHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets MORE, appeared at a Charleston fundraiser for Justice on Thursday, a source told The Hill. An RGA spokeswoman confirmed the fundraiser.

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Justice, elected in 2016 as a Democrat, switched parties and became a Republican just eight months after he took office.

He announced his switch at a rally with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE, though he angered West Virginia Republicans by supporting Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Fallout from Kavanaugh confirmation felt in Washington one year later MORE's (D-W.Va.) reelection in 2018.

He has fought with Republicans in the state legislature over teacher pay raises, and he has been dogged by court fights over debts his personal businesses owe to several tax authorities in several states.

State Sen. Craig Blair (R), who heads the Senate Finance Committee, called on Justice to resign last week.

“Jim Justice is an embarrassment to our state and should resign and try to attend to his family business obligations,” Blair wrote in an op-ed in the West Virginia Record.

Justice is likely to face a difficult reelection bid in 2020, in both the primary and general election.

Manchin, a former West Virginia governor himself, is openly considering running for his old job again. Several Republicans, including state Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, are also said to be contemplating runs.

But Justice will have support from national Republicans, and he is certain to be well funded. A coal magnate worth an estimated $1.5 billion, Justice is the wealthiest man in West Virginia.