CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — When President Donald Trump visited Huntington back in August, there was a surprise in store — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice came to the podium and told the crowd he was switching from the Democratic to the Republican party.
Justice’s party switch was voted the No. 1 news story in 2017 in West Virginia by Associated Press member newspapers and broadcasters.
Politics dominated the news in Justice’s first year as governor. An October voter referendum allowing the state to issue $1.6 billion in state bonds to repair and build roads and bridges was rated the second-biggest story, and the struggles between the governor and Legislature to pass a state budget was third.
Justice, the owner of the Greenbrier resort, won the governor’s race as a Democrat in 2016, defeating Republican state Sen. President Bill Cole. At a rally with Trump in August, Justice announced his move to the GOP, saying that Democrats in the Legislature had “walked away” from him.
He said West Virginia House Democrats failed to support a tax overhaul he says would have