West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice told Fox News on Monday he is “very interested” in pursuing a 2024 U.S. Senate bid for the seat currently held by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Justice, a former Democrat who notably joined the GOP after making an announcement at a 2017 Trump rally, told “Your World” that Washington, D.C. is a “mess” under the Biden administration and that the way he turned around the Mountain State’s economy and budget would serve him well in the Senate.
“I’m very interested. I mean, that’s all there is to it, and I’m very serious about it. I don’t play games with anybody at that point, jerking people around and all that kind of stuff,” he said.
“I am a guy who is hung up on the truth. I’m a guy who is hung up on serving. I’ve never taken one thing from being the governor of this great state. We’ve taken it from a really tough time into a situation to where now we’ve got surpluses beyond belief, and we’re on the pathway of maybe cutting our personal income tax by 50%.”
Justice said he truly believes that if leaders aren’t fully cognizant of what is transpiring in America, “we could lose this nation.”
“And so I am a patriot through and through. And so I am very, very serious about this.”
When asked about Manchin’s position as a rare moderate, red-state Democrat who has upset the rising progressive wing of his party, Justice said he does not want to debate Manchin or his job performance at this time – saying he knows his former fellow governor well.
Justice said there is always a chance Manchin does not choose to seek re-election – leaving the seat open in 2024. Another West Virginia lawmaker, Rep. Alex X. Mooney, R-W.Va., announced his intention in November to also seek the Republican nomination in Manchin’s race.
Justice said his only critique of Manchin is that “one minute Joe’s moving in one direction and another moment he’s moving in another direction. And so all that being said, I’m not going to sit here … and cast stones at Joe.”
He noted he had taken West Virginia’s state finances to new levels of surplus and oversaw several economic development opportunities during his tenure.
Justice is a billionaire businessman himself, notably owning the luxurious Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., among other businesses.
He however later told Cavuto he “probably wouldn’t” self-fund any campaign because a successful candidate needs to have others “pulling the rope all around me.”
“I run off their energy, really, and truly,” he remarked.