Reports: West Virginia Gov. To Switch Parties To GOP At Trump Rally Thursday

FILE -In this March 22, 2017 file photo, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a town hall meeting, at WSAZ's studio in Huntington, W. Va. Justice is switching parties to join Republicans as President Donald T... FILE -In this March 22, 2017 file photo, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a town hall meeting, at WSAZ's studio in Huntington, W. Va. Justice is switching parties to join Republicans as President Donald Trump plans a visit to the increasingly conservative state. Justice's plans were confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday, Aug. 3, by a Democratic Party official with knowledge of his plans. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP, File) MORE LESS
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August 3, 2017 5:05 p.m.

The governor of West Virginia, a Democrat, will introduce President Donald Trump at a rally in his state and switch his party affiliation to Republican Thursday, according to several reports.

The New York Times first reported Gov. Jim Justice’s plans to switch parties, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the plans.

The Times noted that Justice did not endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016, and was elected to his first term in the governor’s mansion in November with a significantly smaller margin of victory than that with which Trump won the state.

In February 2015, ahead of his campaign for governor, Justice switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, the Wall Street Journal noted at the time.

Justice, a camera-friendly billionaire-turned-politician in the Trumpian mold, called the press to the governor’s mansion in April to unveil a plate of bull feces — his metaphor for the state legislature’s proposed budget, what he called “a bunch of political bull-you-know-what.”

Not everyone got the memo of Justice’s plans to switch parties, however. Just hours before the Times reported the news, West Virginia’s Republican Party attacked Justice on Twitter, linking to a Charleston Gazette-Mail story on the state’s Division of Highways awarding contracts to a company whose founder pled guilty to involvement in a kickback scheme.

This post has been updated.

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