ICYMI: West Virginia Republicans’ “Battle Royale” Senate Primary Escalates & Justice Faces Scrutiny Over Debt

On the heels of previous reporting on West Virginia’s Republicans’ “messy,” “costly,” and “bruising intraparty fight” between Alex Mooney and Jim Justice, new reporting highlights how the GOP “battle royale” Senate primary is continuing to escalate and Jim Justice is facing scrutiny over his debts, failure to show up to work and financial challenges.


The Intelligencer: Let the Mud Fly in West Virginia Senate Race

  • Mooney certainly was hard at work Thursday trying to rain on Justice’s parade.

  • The campaign launched, an $11,000 TV ad buy according to ad trackers Media Buying, and text messages. I’m told that Mooney even held one of his tele-townhalls around the same time as Justice’s Thursday announcement.

  • The Mooney campaign had two trackers outside of the Greenbrier with signs calling Justice a RINO (Republican In Name Only).
  • Mooney’s attacks on Justice should not be underestimated. But Justice is fully capable of slinging mud himself as we saw during the fight last summer on Amendment 2. Expect things to only get nastier from here.

Gazette-Mail editorial: Justice could make it to Senate, but should he?

  • He’ll face at least one serious candidate in the primary, Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., who announced his bid for the seat only a few days after being elected to another two-year term in the House of Representatives.
  • Mooney has strong financial backing, but so does Justice. Both Mooney and Justice have touted their ties to Trump, and both will probably covet an endorsement from the twice-impeached former president. 
  • Of course, work hasn’t always been top of mind for the two-term governor, who has remained immersed in his private business interests (often in court over unpaid fees, fines or taxes), continued coaching high school basketball and is only in the capital city a couple of days each week. Justice might find the Senate isn’t merely ribbon-cuttings and occasionally delivering folksy slogans while using his dog as a political prop.

  • Then again, Mooney also is ethically challenged, when it comes to campaign funds and donor gifts, and isn’t spotted in his district much. He simply has a general disinterest in the job he’s been elected to do outside of a few arenas, such as tax cuts and policies that keep the coal industry limping along, both of which at least seem to benefit him personally.

Charleston Gazette-Mail: ‘He has no idea what obligation is’: Justice’s debts mount as he launches US Senate run

  • Pinkey Mullens gave Jim Justice’s coal company his labor. He’ll never give Justice his vote. “I would not vote for that man for nothing,” Mullens said. “I despise him.”
  • Mullens, 69, of Wyoming County feels that way after years of interruptions in his prescription drug coverage that Justice’s business empire has been responsible for after Mullens retired from Justice’s Double-Bonus Coal Company in 2007.
  • “He has no idea what obligation is,” Mullens said. “We just don’t like hearing anything about Jim Justice,” said Cathy, who has been driven to tears by frustration over the coverage interruptions. “We don’t even like hearing his name, actually.”
  • They may have to hear Justice’s name more now that he’s running for the U.S. Senate. Justice, 72, marked his birthday Thursday by announcing his candidacy.
  • But as Justice launches his Senate bid, courts and creditors indicate his business empire’s unmet obligations are mounting at an increasingly steep cost. “He refuses to do what he’s held liable to do,” Pinkey Mullens said.

See also: What They’re Saying About West Virginia Republicans’ “Battle Royale” Senate Primary; ICYMI: Justice is blind (to document requests) [POLITICO Playbook PM]; ICYMI: “The Senate GOP Has a 2024 Candidate Strategy. Will Sunshine Laws Ruin It?” [The Daily Beast]; DSCC Statement on West Virginia Republicans’ “Battle Royale” Senate Primary; Republicans Brace For “Battle Royale” as GOP Infighting Escalates in West Virginia Senate Primary: “It’s Only Going To Get Uglier From Here”; ICYMI: West Virginia’s high-stakes Senate race turns into a GOP proxy war [NBC News].


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