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Jim Justice to announce his Senate campaign, worrying Joe Manchin's aspirations

The current governor of West Virginia is the Republican candidate who polls best against the incumbent senator. The official announcement is scheduled for Friday, April 28.

Jim Justice

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Joe Manchin has not decided what to do in 2024. Whether he will seek another term in the Senate, the presidency or simply step away from public office is something the current senator will decide in December 2023. Meanwhile, the Republican with the best credentials to beat him in West Virginia will officially announce his candidacy on Friday, April 28.

Jim Justice has governed The Mountain State since 2017 and will not be able to seek a third term, so he decided to aim for the Upper House. According to POLITICO, the official announcement is scheduled for Friday, April 28 in White Sulphur Springs, the same day the governor will turn 72 years old.

According to the polls, he is the Republican candidate best positioned to beat Manchin in a hypothetical face-off. The latest Terrance Group poll found that Justice is the only one capable of beating the incumbent Democratic senator, who came to the Senate in 2010 after the death of Robert Byrd.

The pollster matched Manchin with three other candidates, Alex Mooney, Patrick Morrisey and the governor. While the incumbent won against the first two opponents by more than 12%, he lost to the third by 10%.

Justice was the Republican favorite from the beginning. He was recruited by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and was in contact with Mitch McConnell. The governor will have to beat Mooney in the primary, who already has the support of the Club for Growth and about $10 million to campaign with.

Justice's recruitment is in line with the GOP's plan to have self-sustaining Senate candidates. He is the richest person in West Virginia due to his emporium of 94 companies, among them The Greenbrier, a luxury hotel located in White Sulphur Springs.

The governor began his political career as a moderate Democrat, which led him to win his first election in 2016, beating Republican Bill Cole by 7%. However, months after taking office, he called a joint event with then-President Donald Trump, where he announced he would be switching to the GOP. On that occasion, he claimed that Democrats had moved away from their ideals.

As for Manchin, he declared that he would make a decision about his political future by December. Another term in the Senate looks uphill, given that it will coincide with the presidential election, in which the Republican nominee for president is expected to sway many votes for names on the ballot.

Donald Trump carried his state by 38.9 % in 2020. If that margin of victory is repeated for the Republican candidate, Manchin should get nearly 40% of voters to vote for the GOP for president and a Democrat for Senate.

The senator has also flirted with a possible presidential run, which would involve challenging President Biden in the Democratic primary. So far, Marianne Williamson and Robert Kennedy have been the only candidates to announce their campaigns.