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Jim Justice wins Republican nomination to U.S. Senate from West Virginia

Two-term Gov. Jim Justice has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, a race that was called shortly after voting concluded.

Justice’s most prominent competitor was Congressman Alex Mooney. Polling consistently showed Justice with a big lead over Mooney for months.

MetroNews and other outlets called the race early on. The Associated Press called the race for Justice at 8:15 p.m.

Gov. Jim Justice

Justice was at the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston and was preparing to make remarks from there.

“I love the people of West Virginia, and they know me through and through. They have the opportunity to judge me by my deeds; they’ve done that,” Justice said on MetroNews’ election coverage. “That’s why we have this landslide, landslide, landslide.”

He committed to adjusting to life in the U.S. Senate if he wins the general election.

“You have to adapt to any situation. That’s all there is to it. You have to adapt to your surroundings and move forward and that’s what I’ll do,” Justice said.

Joe Manchin, a Democrat, decided not to run for reelection in increasingly Republican-leaning West Virginia this year. So the seat is open and most national pundits believe the seat is likely to swing to a Republican.

Manchin is leaving the Senate seat after first being elected in 2010. In recent years, the centrist Manchin has been a key swing vote.

Justice had support from the Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate, including Mitch McConnell. Senator Steve Daines, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, released a statement tonight congratulating Justice.

“When the 2024 cycle began, the Senate race in West Virginia looked like it was going to be a toss-up. That all changed with the recruitment of Governor Jim Justice. Governor Justice is one of the most popular governors in the country, and his work to cut taxes and create opportunity for hardworking West Virginians makes him exactly the right person to represent the state in the U.S. Senate,” said Daines, R-Montana.

“Congratulations to Big Jim and his team on a big win tonight. We look forward to welcoming him to the United States Senate next year.”

Justice is a two-term governor who first won that office as a Democrat in 2016. He switched parties in 2017 at a rally for then-President Donald Trump, citing his close relationship with Trump and saying he could accomplish more as a Republican. Trump announced an endorsement for Justice several months ago.

Justice’s family owns West Virginia’s famed Greenbrier Hotel, and the family business network includes coal, timber and agriculture holdings. Justice made his early reputation as a “business guy” who could “buzz the numbers.” The businesses have been under significant and widely discussed financial pressure, but that hasn’t affected Justice’s electoral position.

Alex Mooney

Mooney was elected to Congress representing a swath of West Virginia in 2014. In 2022, he defeated fellow Congressman David McKinley in a consolidated district that includes the state’s northern counties.

Before winning the congressional seat, Mooney was a Maryland state senator from 1999 to 2010 and then chairman of Maryland’s Republican Party from 2010 to 2013.

“Tonight, I called Governor Justice and congratulated him on his victory. I wish him well as our Republican nominee and the next U.S. Senator,” Mooney said. “While this race didn’t go as we hoped, I will continue fighting for our conservative West Virginia values.”

Glenn Elliott

Democrats on the ballot for the seat included Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott, Marine Veteran Zach Shrewsbury and former coal executive Don Blankenship, who spent years promoting conservative and Republican causes.

Elliott was the winner and will be the Democratic nominee. He acknowledged an uphill fight against Justice.

“I think I will outwork him. I think he has his own issues to be worrying about. I think it’s going to be closer than people think,” Elliott said during MetroNews’ election night coverage.

 





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