Just a few months prior to running for governor, Jim Justice switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. After winning both the Democratic Primary and the General Election, Justice has now announced that he is returning to the Republican Party.
On Thursday, Governor Justice announced at a maximum capacity-filled Trump rally, that he is switching his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
“Today, I will tell you as West Virginians, I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor,” Justice expressed. “So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.”
“Like it or don’t like it, the Democrats walked away from me.”
According to Hoppy Kercheval with W.Va. MetroNews, Justice’s Democratic staffers were not informed that the “switch was coming.” He also did not inform the West Virginia Democratic Party.
This flip comes after Governor Justice relentlessly fought with Republicans and proposed the highest tax increases in West Virginia history. Up to this point, the governor has rejected most core principles of the Republican platform. He has supported higher taxes, social liberalism, except for his opposition to common core.
This governor has been a good Democrat. Why is he suddenly switching parties? All 55 counties in West Virginia voted for Donald Trump. After Justice relentlessly fought to increase the taxes of every hardworking, West Virginia taxpayer, (as you can imagine) he isn’t as popular as he previously was on the campaign trail. More than likely, this flip was nothing more than an attempt to remain in power.
There is a slight (but very unlikely) chance that Justice’s return to the Republican Party was genuine. As voters, it is important for us to ignore whatever the man says and observe his actions. Justice can call himself a “Republican,” but if he rejects conservatism as a Republican governor, he is nothing more than a RINO (Republican-In-Name-Only).
Democrats in West Virginia are typically blue collar and mildly conservative, compared to the rest of the nation. Republicans in West Virginia are staunch conservatives. Justice is now playing for our team, and if he does not adhere to our platform, West Virginia’s Republican electorate will pull him off the field. He will be held accountable in the next Republican primary, if he does not embrace conservatism.
In an exclusive interview, House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-40) expressed that he is willing to work with the governor, but he has not portrayed holding conservative values thus far.
“I think we’ve seen a lot of people switching to Republican,” Speaker Armstead stated. “West Virginia is a very conservative state. We want conservative values, economic ideas that actually create jobs. I hope that is a sign he saw that is where the people of West Virginia want him to be. I’m looking forward. I hope he will embrace the conservative values we’ve been fighting for (hasn’t happened too much so far in his administration), but I hope this is a sign he does want to do that. And we’re certainly willing and ready to go to work with him to advance those conservative values, put people back to work, if that’s where he wants to go.”
Governor Justice’s announcement shook West Virginia politics and the entire country. Republicans now have a record number of governors, and most of the governors with the highest approval ratings are Republicans. Perhaps Justice will surprise us all and begin to promote conservatism in his administration, or he will hide his liberal policies behind his “registered Republican” label. It is imperative for voters to pay attention to his actions, and metaphorically hold his feet to the fire.