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 TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Trump set to host controversial social media summit Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel MORE, appeared at a Charleston fundraiser for Justice on Thursday, a source told The Hill. An RGA spokeswoman confirmed the fundraiser.


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 TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE, though he angered West Virginia Republicans by supporting Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Kentucky Democrat says primary challenge to McGrath 'might be helpful' McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments 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.