YES! West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Switches Back to Republican Party at Trump Rally

YES! West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Switches Back to Republican Party at Trump Rally

On Thursday night, Democratic Jim Justice made an appearance at a Trump a rally to deliver some uplifting news. After spending 2015 and 2016 running for Governor of West Virginia as a Democrat, Justice announced that he would be rejoining the Republican party after just seven months in office.

From NPR

“Today I will tell you with lots of prayers and lots of thinking, I’ll tell you West Virginians, I can’t help you any more being a Democrat governor,” Justice said.

”The Democrats walked away from me,” the governor argued, and reflected that his late mother, who was a big fan of former President Ronald Reagan, was looking down on him thinking, “Jimmy, it’s about damn time you came to your senses.”

Trump had teased “a very big announcement” during the Huntington, W.Va., rally and the New York Times was first to report that Justice’s party switch would be the major reveal.

First elected last November as a conservative Democrat, Justice is a billionaire coal and real estate businessman who has drawn comparisons to Trump. He has identified as a Republican and an independent in the past, and he declined to endorse Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
— Jessica Taylor and Scott Detrow, reporting for NPR

Justice isn't the first to make a splash among party lines. In 2009, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter generated similar buzz when, after a lengthy courtship with the Democratic Party, he left the GOP to join them.

No courtship took place this time it seems, as West Virginia Republicans were caught completely off-guard by Justice's announcement. State Party Chairman Conrad Lucas had this to say:

“We are very cognizant of the fact that we have criticized him greatly in the past for his various policy positions and the way he has conducted his businesses. However all that conduct was done while he was a Democrat. Today he’s a Republican so we look forward to moving forward.”
— Conrad Lucas, on Jim Justice

While Lucas's optimism is admirable, the GOP is not out of the woods just yet.

Justice should be given every chance to demonstrate actual Republican values through his actions as governor. In a worst-case scenario, Justice could end up on the list of infamous "Republicans-In-Name-Only," or RINOS, a term used to describe party members that claim to support the GOP but vote in favor of leftist policies. Senator John McCain recently made headlines for being the RINO that cast the deciding vote in favor of preserving Obamacare.

Still, the switch seems to be genuine, as Justice had plenty of things to say about President Trump, praising him and his children and pointing out that as a businessman, he too was not a politician:

“This man is a good man. He’s got a backbone. He’s got real ideas. He cares about America. He cares about us in West Virginia.”
— Jim Justice, on President Trump

Perhaps there's hope yet for the GOP.

Stay alert. Stay alive.

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