May 14, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Jim Justice wins West Virginia Republican Senate primary, AP projects

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announces that he is switching parties to become a republican as President Donald J. Trump listens on at a campaign rally at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on August 3, 2017 in Huntington, West Virginia.

Then-President Trump and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice at a 2017 rally in Huntington, West Virginia. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Gov. Jim Justice won the West Virginia Republican Senate primary on Tuesday night, AP projects.

Why it matters: Republicans are poised to flip the seat currently held by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), bringing the party closer to control of the chamber.

  • Justice defeated Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.V.) in the primary.

The big picture: Manchin's decision to retire means the GOP is almost certain to win the seat in November, which would be the first time since 1958 that the state won't send a Democrat to the Senate.

  • It also means Republicans are set to capture one of the nine Senate seats that Democrats are trying to protect this year.
  • If Republicans protect their seats in states like Texas and Florida, then they will need to flip just one more seat to win a majority.

Zoom in: Justice is an ally of former President Trump and picked up his endorsement in the race.

  • Justice was elected governor as a Democrat in 2016. He switched party affiliations in 2017 and handily won reelection in 2020.
  • Manchin's retirement was a relief for national Republicans, who struggled to find a way to defeat the Democrat in the state since he first won the governorship in 2004.
Go deeper