Manchin endorses Salango in gubernatorial contest

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who at one point considered another run for governor, has endorsed Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango for the seat.

Salango’s campaign announced the endorsement on Tuesday, a day after receiving an endorsement from the West Virginia AFL-CIO.

Manchin, D-W.Va., described Salango as “the one person who can bring us all together to get things done.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

“Ben is the one candidate who can win in November and meet head-on the great challenges we face in our state. For all of these reasons and more, I am committed to supporting Ben Salango and I will do everything in my power to help him become the next governor of the great state of West Virginia,” he added.

Salango has served on the Kanawha County Commission since February 2017 and was instrumental in the development of the Shawnee Sports Complex near Dunbar.

“It’s an honor to have Sen. Manchin’s support because he knows what it takes to effectively run state government and get results for the people,” Salango said. “Our campaign is gaining new supporters every day because now is the time to come together to get things done.”

Salango is one of four Democrats running for the Democratic nomination. Activist Stephen Smith, Boone County Sen. Ron Stollings and economic developer Jody Murphy are also seeking the nomination.

Stollings criticized the timing of Manchin’s endorsement, noting the coronavirus pandemic.

“Apparently one must be a millionaire to get Joe Manchin’s support for Governor. He backed billionaire Jim Justice four years ago and now, he’s supporting millionaire Ben Salango,” the state legislator also said.

The Stollings campaign in a press release touted endorsements from state lawmakers, including Marion County Sen. Roman Prezioso, Kanawha County Sen. Corey Palumbo and Berkeley County Sen. John Unger.

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