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What West Virginia Democrats Had to Say About Gov. Jim Justice Before Last Night

The West Virginia Democratic Party had high praise for the governor’s efforts before he switched to the Republican Party at a Trump rally last night.

At a Donald Trump rally in Huntington, West Virginia last night, Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) announced that he was switching his party registration from Democrat to Republican.

The reaction from the West Virginia Democratic Party was swift, with their chair, Belinda Biafore slamming Justice as a “puppet” of Trump. “Shame on him,” she said.

But the party forgot to take down their past effusive praise for Justice that came when he had a ‘D’ next to his name on the ballot. Here are the highlights.

When Justice won the Democratic primary for governor in May 2016, the Democrats praised him as “a proven job creator” and a candidate that “will fight for new opportunities for working families:”

Jim Justice is a proven job creator who understands what it takes to put our people back to work. Jim has a passion for our state and bold ideas to move West Virginia forward. We know that Jim Justice will lead our Party to victory this fall.

Jim Justice’s vision for creating jobs will take West Virginia where it’s never been. Only one candidate for governor will fight for new opportunities for working families and that’s Jim Justice.

During the general election, Democrats continued to laud Justice’s economic prowess, saying, “it’s clear that Jim Justice is the most prepared to create jobs and grow our economy.”

The West Virginia Democratic Party was high on Justice’s “Save Our State” plan, even using the hashtag #DemsWithJim to promote the governor’s policies. Biafore was unequivocal in support of Justice’s plan:

We applaud Governor Justice’s efforts to tackle this problem head on and take steps forward to help West Virginians when they need it most,” said Belinda Biafore, Chair. “There are many problems that contribute to West Virginia’s lack of jobs and this drug epidemic is certainly high on the list. Governor Justice means it when he says he is going to turn our state around. I am willing to do whatever I can to help and as Democrats we strive to never stop until every West Virginian has received the help that they deserve.

And the party also could barely contain its excitement leading up to Justice’s inauguration, calling his election “a win for all West Virginians:”

As I said on election night, a win for Jim Justice is a win for all West Virginians. Now more than ever, I am extremely hopeful for our future and I truly believe our home and her people are in the best hands. Jim Justice loves West Virginia more than anyone I know and he is extremely excited and ready to move our state forward and show our people what a truly exceptional place West Virginia can be.

In a tweet on inauguration day, the Democrats said that Justice would “lead the fight for workers and job growth.”