West Virginia’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice filed paperwork Thursday to run for Senate in 2024 for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s seat.
The two-term GOP governor filed the statement of candidacy form Thursday, just hours before his expected official announcement, according to FEC filings. Justice will have to go up against Republican Rep. Alex Mooney in the primary as they fight to take on Manchin, who has yet to announce a reelection bid.
The governor would beat Manchin 52% to 42%, respectively, while Mooney would lose by 15 points, according to a February Tarrance Group poll. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who ran against Manchin in 2018 and lost, has announced he is running for governor.
Justice and Mooney, the latter of whom is endorsed by conservative group Club for Growth, are both vying for an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. The governor is more popular than the congressman among West Virginia’s likely GOP primary voters with 78% support to 48%, respectively, and is up by 31 points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, according to a March National Public Affairs poll.
The two-term GOP governor has been inching toward a Senate bid since November, and has been meeting with top Republicans like Montana Sen. Steve Daines, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Justice also put his family’s coal business up for sale in preparation for a campaign launch.
Justice did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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