W.Va. Governor Jim Justice to switch from Democrat to Republican

Gov. Jim Justice on a fishing trip with Donald Trump Jr. in May 2017
Gov. Jim Justice on a fishing trip with Donald Trump Jr. in May 2017(WHSV)
Published: Aug. 3, 2017 at 4:05 PM EDT
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West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is expected to switch parties from Democrat to Republican, according to a new

and a confirmation by a Democratic Party official to The Associated Press.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the decision before the announcement.

That announcement is expected to come at President Donald Trump's rally at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, West Virginia on Thursday evening.

Earlier in the day, Trump

at that rally.

According to the New York Times, three sources familiar with Justice's plans said he is expected to announce the plans alongside Trump.

WHSV's sister station in the area of the rally, WSAZ, is reaching out representatives from the Governor's Office for comment.

West Virginia voted overwhelmingly for Trump last year, and Justice was elected with just 49 percent of the vote.

Justice, a billionaire coal and real estate magnate known as the richest man in West Virginia, had been registered as a Republican until 2015, when he switched party affiliation to Democrat ahead of his run for governor in 2016.

Earlier this year, Justice

in Greenbrier and Monroe counties.

Justice's defection leaves Democrats with just 15 governors among 50 states.

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