HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Latest on West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice switching parties to join Republicans (all times local):
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says he's switching parties to join the Republicans as President Donald Trump visited the increasingly conservative state.
Justice told about 9,000 Trump supporters at a rally in Huntington on Thursday night that he will be changing his registration Friday.
He says that he recently visited the White House twice with proposals on manufacturing and coal, that neither he nor Trump are politicians and they both ran to get something done.
Justice says Trump is his friend, a good man with real ideas who cares about West Virginians.
Trump says they spoke a few weeks ago about working together to open coal mines and create jobs in furniture manufacturing and other forms of manufacturing.
He says Justice showed the country their agenda "rises above left or right."
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is switching parties to join Republicans as President Donald Trump plans a visit to the increasingly conservative state.
Justice's plans were confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday by a Democratic Party official with knowledge of his plans. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the decision before the announcement.
The governor is expected to publicly announce his decision Thursday evening at a campaign rally with the president.
Justice was elected in November with just 49 percent of the vote, 20 percentage points behind Trump's total in the presidential contest in the state. Trump won 77 percent of West Virginia's Republican primary voters in May.
Justice's defection leaves Democrats with just 15 governors among 50 states.