An ECU survey shows Governor Jim Justice (R-WV) having a major lead in a race between him and incumbent Joe Manchin (D-WV) for the Mountain State's Senate seat. Governor Justice, who jumped into the race in April, has a 22-point lead over the Democratic incumbent among registered voters.
Justice enjoys the support of a sizable majority of the voter's support with 54 percent backing their governor for the Senate seat compared to 32 percent of voters staying with Manchin, 13 percent being undecided, and one percent backing another candidate, according to Breitbart News.
The survey itself was taken from May 22-23 with 957 registered Mountain State voters participating and has a Credibility Interval of plus/minus 3.7 percent. Senator Manchin has been in the federal Senate since 2010. Before his inauguration to the upper chamber, he was the governor of the state from 2005-2010. Manchin's closest election to the Senate was in 2018 when he managed to win with less than 50 percent of the vote and with a 3.3-point margin of victory over his Republican opponent.
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When Jim Justice first ran for the governorship of West Virginia in 2016, he did so as a Democrat and managed to win 49.1 percent of the vote compared to the 42.3 percent of the vote that his Republican competitor got.
Soon after his win, in August of 2017, Governor Justice switched to the Republican party. He did so after Democrats in the legislature walked away from a deal over coal and manufacturing that the governor supported. The governor described that moment as when "the Democrats walked away from me." As a result, the governor said, "I can't help you anymore being a Democrat governor. So tomorrow I will be changing my registration to Republican."
West Virginia was then and still is now a heavily Republican state on the presidential level.
It has voted for every Republican presidential candidate since 2000. West Virginia would vote for Donald J. Trump in 2016 over Hillary Clinton by about 42 percentage points and was his second-strongest-performing state. He would win the state again in a landslide by a margin of 38.9 percentage points in 2020 over Joe Biden.
The state's history from 1932 to 1996 was that it was ironically one of the most reliable solidly Democratic-leaning states in the Union as it voted for a Republican presidential candidate only in landslide years in 1956, 1972, and 1984. When Justice ran for his second term in 2020, he won by a landslide with 63.5 percent of voters casting their ballot for him.