Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GOVERNOR'S RACE ; Kessler Endorses Justice; Goodwin Still Undecided

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GOVERNOR'S RACE ; Kessler Endorses Justice; Goodwin Still Undecided

Article excerpt

Jim Justice has the support of one of the two men he defeated in the Democratic primary for West Virginia's governor; the other is holding off. State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, who came in third in the May primary, endorsed Justice this week, saying that he wishes Justice was "a little more progressive, but that he would be a necessary check, should the Legislature remain in Republican control.

Booth Goodwin, the former U.S. attorney for Southern West Virginia who edged Kessler in the primary but still came in a distant second to Justice, said he has not made up his mind on who he supports in the governor's race.

"I really haven't settled on that quite yet; I'm still working through that, said Goodwin, who comes from a family with a storied history in state Democratic politics. "I want to make sure that the person that I support is willing to lead, and not just say the things that people want to hear, but rather do the things and stand for the things that I think we need as a state.

Justice, who faces Senate President Bill Cole, the Republican nominee, in the general election, won more votes than Kessler and Goodwin combined in the primary, while also spending about four times as much on his primary campaign (the vast majority of it his own money) as the other two candidates combined.

Mountain Party candidate Charlotte Pritt and David Moran, a Libertarian, also are running for governor.

Kessler, who will leave the Senate this year after nearly 20 years in office, cited legislation passed by Republicans since they took power in the Legislature two years ago - right-to-work, prevailing wage repeal, judicial reforms - as reason to oppose Cole and support Justice.

"Honestly, I wish [Justice] was a little more progressive, Kessler said, "but I've seen Bill [Cole] and the Republican agenda in action, the ALEC agenda, the war on workers and teachers, and I just don't think that's the way to go. This trickle-down economics doesn't work. …

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