CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former Gov. Gaston Caperton today announced an endorsement of Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango in the Democratic primary for governor.
Salango is running against a field of candidates that includes state Senator Ron Stollings, activist Stephen Smith, Boone County resident Cecil Silva and Pleasants County developer Jody Murphy.
Caperton, who was two-term governor of West Virginia from 1989 to 1997, endorsed businessman Jim Justice in the Democratic primary four years ago against then-Senate President Jeff Kessler and former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
Justice went on to win, but switched to the Republican Party six months after taking office.
Now Caperton says the best choice is Salango, whose campaign distributed a statement from the former governor.
“Now more than ever, West Virginia needs a governor who isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, work hard, and move our great state forward,” Caperton stated. “Ben Salango is the guy we’ve been looking for.”
Salango is a plaintiffs attorney and has been a Kanawha County commissioner since 2017.
“Ben has proved himself to be a superb lawyer, a dedicated businessman, and a forward-thinking county commissioner, and I look forward to working hard for him to help him become our next governor,” Caperton stated.
Salango said he appreciates the endorsement from Caperton, who was a business executive before his own run for governor.
“His work and commitment to public education as governor is and should be an inspiration for all other West Virginia governors and public officials,” Salango stated.
Smith’s “West Virginia Can’t Wait” campaign earlier this year touted a primary endorsement from Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren.