West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) will launch his U.S. Senate campaign next week in the Mountain State, according to an invitation first seen by Politico.
Justice’s long-awaited campaign will launch on Thursday at an event at The Greenbrier, his luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, according to the invitation. A Republican strategist close to Justice confirmed the details to Politico.
His announcement also hands the Republicans a well-funded and popular candidate to go up against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the state’s current Democrat senator who has not announced his intentions for 2024.
However, Justice will still have to get through a primary, and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) has already announced he would be running for the seat.
Justice, who has close ties to former president Donald Trump, enjoys high approval ratings and has personal wealth. In addition to running statewide and winning the governorship twice, he was reportedly heavily recruited by the Senate Republican’s campaign arm. On the other hand, the Club for Growth has already committed to spending over $10 million, if they need to, to get Mooney elected.
Both candidates will be vying for Trump’s endorsement.
Politico acknowledged that allies of Justice have signaled they will use Mooney’s past against him in the primary. The congressman was a state senator in Maryland before moving to West Virginia to run for congress ahead of his 2014 election.
Whoever wins the primary will go up against Manchin, who used to be one of the more popular senators and has now become one of the least popular, next to McConnell. The latest Morning Consult poll found that 55 percent of West Virginia voters view him negatively.
Additionally, the UVA Center for Politics marked West Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat as “Lean Republican” in the first set of projections for the 2024 cycle. Sabato’s Crystal Ball Managing Editor Kyle Kondik noted that starting the incumbent as an “underdog” with the “Lean Republican” rating is “fairly unusual.”
The projection further explained that this rating is partially due to Manchin being undecided on reelection and the state’s political landscape changing since he last ran.
In 2018 when he ran for reelection, Manchin won by roughly three points against state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) in a good midterm year for Democrats, but the state has become redder over the years. During the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump won the state by roughly 40 points.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.