West Virginia Governor Jim Justice will be announcing Thursday night that he is changing political parties at a rally with President Trump, according to sources.
Justice had won his election at the same time as Trump who won the state by 42 points.
While speaking to reporters early on Thursday in the White House, President Trump promised “a very big announcement” at this gathering with the Governor. The rally is estimated to bring in thousands of supporters from all across Appalachia, which is also a region that gave Trump a huge margin in his election.
A billionaire real estate and coal entrepreneur, Jim Justice ran as a conservative Democrat who also refused to endorse Hillary Clinton.
It is reported that Justice has a friendly relationship with some of Trump’s family members. He also decided to donate money to officeholders in both parties while registering as a Republican, Democrat, and independent.
Senator Joe Manchin who is a West Virginia Democrat and former governor is not happy about Justice’s party switch. Manchin has stood his ground with the Trump Administration but will be up for re-election in 2018 without the help of a friendly governor.
Justice became well known when he drew headlines nationally for bringing in cow manure into the state capitol to show how angry he was at a Republican-passed budget proposal.
While pulling off the lid of a silver platter to reveal the prop on top of a copy of the budget Justice said, “What we have is nothing more than bunch of political bull you-know-what.”
Yet after building his fortune with coal and The Greenbrier resort he was recently hit by some of the same financial issues that Republicans used against him during his campaign last year.
Four liens have been filed by the state tax department on one of Justice’s companies this year. Tams Management Inc., is said to own almost $1 million in unpaid interest, taxes, and penalties, all of which relate to his coal mines.