- West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice has won reelection against Democratic challenger Ben Salango, Decision Desk HQ reported.
- Justice, a billionaire, has been in office since 2017. Salango works as a county commissioner.
- Experts rated the race as solid for the Republican in the months before the election.
- See the live coverage and full results from the most competitive US elections.
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Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has won reelection against Democratic challenger Ben Salango, Decision Desk HQ reported.
Polls in West Virginia closed at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Justice has been governor since 2017. A previously registered Republican, he ran as a Democrat, then switched back his party affiliation seven months after he took office.
The governor is the wealthiest person in the state with a net worth over $US1 billion. He’s a businessman who also inherited a coal-mining business from his father.
Justice, who touts his conservative beliefs, spotlighted his support of President Donald Trump to boost his reelection chances. He framed his campaign around building a stronger economy, education reform, and combating the drug-use crisis.
His Democratic opponent, Salango, is a county commissioner with a law background, who was running on the same issues.
Yet the two had sparred not about policy but their personal histories. Both went on the offence in a recent virtual debate. Justice slammed Salango as a trial lawyer who “sues people.” Salango criticised Justice for being sued dozens of times over unpaid business bills.
“He actually has more courtroom experience than I do,” Salango said, a local news outlet reported.
West Virginia has become a heavily Republican state in recent decades. Along with the governorship, the state Legislature is controlled by Republicans. The state also went to Trump in 2016.
As a result, the odds were in Justice’s favour. Justice also benefited from a relatively high approval rating in recent polls, indicating he may cruise to victory on Election Day.
The money race: The candidates were neck and neck in fundraising. Justice had raised roughly $US1.5 million for his reelection effort, while Salango slightly trails behind him with around $US1.4 million, according to the latest campaign-finance data.
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