Kessler, Goodwin respond to Justice’s ‘two peas in a pod’ ad

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — New political ads from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice attack fellow candidates state Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler and former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

The ad names both Kessler and Goodwin calling them “two peas in a pod” who are “career politicians who have never built anything or created a single job.” The ad also says the pair want to raise taxes.

Both of them reacted Thursday.

“Despite his pledge early on Justice is going negative,” Kessler said during a news conference in Charleston. “My experience is when a candidate starts to go negative their candidacy is in trouble and they’re in a free fall.”

Goodwin said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline” the things the ad says about him are false.

“I’ve never run for political office in my life,” Goodwin said. “It says I want to raise taxes. I don’t want to raise taxes for goodness sake.”

Goodwin later said everything should be on the table when considering the state’s budget problems.

Justice campaign spokesman Grant Herring released the following statement about the new ad:

“Jim is campaigning everyday speaking to hundreds of West Virginians each day listening to their concerns. The people, and the polls, clearly show that Jim is the only candidate who can create jobs and turn this state around as governor.”

Both Goodwin and Kessler criticized Justice Thursday for outstanding tax payments owed by his companies.

“He should have been using (the money spent on the ad) to pay his bills,” Goodwin said.

Kessler also questioned Justice’s “commitment to governing the state on a full-time basis” given his many business interests.

“He needs to come clean with the people of the state,” Kessler said. “What’s  going to come first if he becomes governor? Will it be running his companies or will it be focused on putting West Virginia first? Being governor is a full-time job.”

Kessler also criticized comments Justice recently made about plans not to campaign with anyone if he wins the Democratic Party’s nomination.

“He came out and said he will not campaign with Hillary Clinton. He will not campaign with anybody. Sounds like to me he’s already abandoned the party’s ship,” Kessler said. “That’s a very strange platform for a Democrat seeking the Democratic nomination.”

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