BECKLEY, W.Va. — Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice told the Beckley Register-Herald on Tuesday he’s “very seriously considering” running in the 2016 Democratic gubernatorial primary in West Virginia.
Justice said he has been considering the possibility of seeking office for months.
“I bring a passion for the state and a track record of creating jobs,” Justice told the newspaper.
This week’s announcement by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin not to run for governor had an impact on Justice, who said he’ll make a final decision soon.
Financing a campaign won’t be an issue for Justice, who made his riches in coal, timber and corn. Forbes Magazine recently listed his net worth at $1.69 billion.
Justice was viewed as rescuing The Greenbrier from bankruptcy in 2009, outbidding Marriott Corp. with a cash offer eclipsing $20 million. He promptly heightened the famed resort’s status by securing a PGA Tour event and pumping another $100 million-plus into upgrades.
More recently he attracted the NFL’s New Orleans Saints with a $25-million training camp facility and soon plans to open a state-of-the-art tennis venue.
Justice also recently repurchased a coal company in southern West Virginia and said he plans to put miners back to work.
With second-term Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin prohibited from seeking re-election, and Manchin opting to remain in Washington, next year’s race is viewed as wide-open.