Governor Justice endorses Moore Capito to succeed him

Gov. Jim Justice has endorsed Moore Capito to succeed him in the Governor’s Office.

Justice gained the endorsement of Moore Capito’s mother, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, when he announced his own bid for Senate last April 27. Moore Capito then endorsed Justice on Sept. 13. Then, when Moore Capito resigned from the House of Delegates on Dec. 21 to focus more on the gubernatorial race, he did so from the Governor’s Reception Room and on a statewide news briefing with Justice.

As recently as this Wednesday, Justice said in a news briefing that he was still considering his endorsement in the Republican primary for governor.

Gov. Jim Justice

Late today, Justice rolled out the endorsement on official letterhead from the Governor’s Office:

“Today I am honored to announce my wholehearted endorsement for Moore Capito for Governor and that I will support him in every way. He is from a family of thoroughbreds: from his three-time-elected Governor-grandfather Arch Moore to his current United States Senator-mother Shelley Moore Capito. Moore has shown he has the vision and knowledge to elevate West Virginia, and I am proud to wish him success.”

Moore Capito

Capito is a former House Judiciary Committee chairman, son of the U.S. senator and grandson of three-term Gov. Arch Moore.

West Virginia’s primary election is May 14. The early voting period for the primary election starts on Wednesday, May 1, and ends on Saturday, May 11.

The most recent MetroNews West Virginia Poll showed a very tight Republican race for governor. 

In the lead was three-term Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who showed support from 31% of registered Republican voters and independent voters who will request a Republican ballot.

Capito was just behind with 29 percent. The overall confidence level is +/- 4.9 percentage points, indicating a tossup at the point the poll was conducted.

Businessman Chris Miller, whose mother is Congresswoman Carol Miller, came in with 16% support. And two-term Secretary of State Mac Warner was at 12 percent. The poll had 10% of Republican voters still unsure, with the remainder saying they favor some other candidate.

In recent weeks, the race has featured escalating back-and-forth between Morrisey and Miller, with each camp accusing the other of supporting transgender issues.

Justice’s endorsement made reference to mudslinging and said it’s a major reason he’s for Capito.

“We have good candidates, and I admire each for their individual accomplishments. As I have watched this campaign mature, however, I am saddened by the ridiculous mudslinging,” Justice said.

“I have realized only one candidate is laser focused on continuing to keep us on the path of goodness for all of us. I think only one truly understands that we got here by pulling the rope together. Our great turnaround story still has chapters to be written, and I believe one candidate is prepared to keep the course.”

Patrick Morrisey

Morrisey’s campaign responded to the endorsement with criticism of Capito.

“If only politicians and swamp creatures voted, of course the liberal son of a senator would win. That’s Capito’s constituency,” said Taylor Van Virk, representing the Morrisey campaign.

“But West Virginia’s Republicans aren’t going to elect someone Donald Trump Jr. rightfully called a RINO. They are going to overwhelmingly elect Patrick Morrisey.”

Justice is a two-term governor first elected as a Democrat. He switched to the Republican Party in 2017 at a rally for Donald Trump in Huntington.

“We have a great opportunity to put President Trump back in the White House and have a unanimous Republican team from West Virginia working together in Washington,” Justice’s endorsement said. “That’s why it’s so important to have a ‘get it done’ Governor who will connect the pieces to help our Great State.”

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