Justice adds another Trump person to gubernatorial campaign team

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Following what one could best describe as a rough week for him, Gov. Jim Justice is adding to his campaign staff.

Justice on Monday announced the hiring of Mike Lukach as his campaign manager for the next election cycle. Lukach’s recent election experiences include management work in Minnesota and Colorado for President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 and the campaign of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the most recent election cycle.

“I’m a businessman, so I know how badly mismanaged our state was when I took it over two years ago,” Justice said in a statement. “With a lot of hard work, we’ve brought West Virginia back from the dead and finally have us on the right track – now we need to finish the job.”

Lukach also served as White House liaison to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under Trump.

“Governor Justice’s policies have unleashed the nation’s fastest-growing economy, have given the state a conservative Supreme Court for the first time and are fixing the state’s roads and its schools,” he said. “And I know better than anyone that no one has been a better partner for President Trump than Jim Justice.”

Justice’s latest hire adds to the recent string of staff connected to Trump; Bill Stepien and Justin Clark, both aides of Trump’s 2016 efforts, recently joined as advisors. Stepien sent Monday’s press release regarding Lukach.

The moves came on the heels of Forbes and NPR stories regarding debts owed by companies of the Justice family.

The Republic Executive Committees in Kanawha and Harrison counties approved resolutions this month expressing no confidence in Justice. The West Virginia Federation of College Republicans followed with their own resolution on Saturday.

As multiple outlets reported last week, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a grand jury subpoena in March to the state Department of Commerce seeking documents related to the state and Justice’s private work, including The Greenbrier resort; A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, the annual PGA tournament; and Old White Charities, which operates the tournament.

According to financial records submitted Friday, the Justice campaign has yet to receive any contributions or make any expenditures yet is more than $17,000 in debt.

The campaign owes more than $4,700 to Gillespie’s Flowers & Productions, which has a storefront at the Greenbrier; more than $2,600 to the resort itself; and $10,000 to National Public Affairs LLC, a firm in which Clark is the registered agent.

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