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CHARLESTON — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has received several endorsements over the past week, including one from President Donald J. Trump.

“Governor Jim Justice is a tremendous fighter for the incredible people of West Virginia. Big Jim is strong on life, the Second Amendment, and building the wall! With Governors like Jim, America will recover and get back to business. Jim has my complete and total endorsement,” Trump said in an emailed news release from the Justice campaign.

Justice has long cited Trump as a personal friend, and announced his switch from Democrat to Republican during a Trump rally in Huntington in 2017.

Justice also has recently gained the backing of the West Virginia Business & Industry Council, one of the largest business trade organizations in West Virginia, and the West Virginia Automobile Dealers Association.

“Under your bold leadership, our state’s education system has improved, our state’s budget is balanced, and roads and bridges are being upgraded in all directions and every county,” said Chris Hamilton, chairman of the West Virginia Business & Industry Council, in a news release.

The West Virginia Business & Industry Council represents members in various industries, including health care, mining, insurance, retail, trucking, agricultural and construction.

“Governor Justice has improved West Virginia’s economy, created jobs, and works every day to attract people and more opportunities to our state. He recognizes that automobile dealers are job creators, contributors to our state’s economic success, and recognizes that our dealers are supporters and vital members of local communities across the Mountain State,” said Jared Wyrick, president of WVCAR PAC, the political action committee of the West Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, in the group’s announcement.

The West Virginia Automobile Dealers Association represents over 148 dealerships in West Virginia and serves as the voice of automobile and truck dealers to advance the automotive industry in West Virginia.

Justice faces Michael “Mike” Folk, Shelby Jean Fitzhugh, Woody Thrasher, Doug Six, Brooke Lunsford and Charles R. Sheedy Sr. in the Republican primary race for governor.

Thrasher continues outreach program locally

HUNTINGTON — Woody Thrasher, a Bridgeport, West Virginia, resident and businessman challenging Jim Justice in the Republican primary race for governor, visited Huntington last week to deliver lunch to first responders and essential workers, part of an effort known as “Mountain Outreach.”

The meals, meant to say “thank you,” were taken to Cabell County 911 dispatchers and employees, members of the Huntington Fire Department and staff at Lily’s Place.

“When it became clear that our entire state would be grappling with this health crisis, we began shifting our entire team toward service,” explained Thrasher’s campaign manager, Ann Ali.

Thrasher has been purchasing meals from Cody’s, the Bridgeport restaurant his oldest son owns and operates, and delivering them throughout the state to essential employees, emergency services workers and front-line staffs, Ali said in an email.

“He’s been to hospitals, nursing homes, 911 centers and fire departments with hundreds and hundreds of meals so far,” Ali said. “We’ve always made arrangements ahead of time so the facilities know to expect the delivery, and everyone takes safety precautions.”

In addition, a field director for the campaign has volunteered at Facing Hunger Foodbank, and members of Thrasher’s field staff have been calling West Virginians just to ask if there’s anything they need during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on Mountain Outreach, visit

Election information

Primary election dates and deadlines in West Virginia have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

May 19 is now the voter registration deadline.

Early voting at county courthouses or designated locations will take place May 27 to June 6, during normal business hours, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registered voters are also being sent post cards asking whether they would like an absentee ballot rather than voting in person.

Primary Election Day is June 9. For more information, visit

The Herald-Dispatch is running news, including events and endorsements, from candidates running in 2020 elections. To submit your campaign news, send an email to with the subject line “Campaign Trails.”

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