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Governor Justice Switches to Republican; "Trumps" President's West Virginia Visit

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President Trump watches as Gov. Justice switches to Republican Party. President Trump watches as Gov. Justice switches to Republican Party.
President Trump touted the resurgence of coal industry. President Trump touted the resurgence of coal industry.
President Trump received lots of cheers any time he mentioned coal comeback.. President Trump received lots of cheers any time he mentioned coal comeback..

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) - President Trump had a warm Welcome in Huntington, especially when he talked about the recent surge in the West Virginia economy.

"I love your grit; your spirit; and I love our coal miners and they are coming back strong," said President Donald Trump.

But the show-stopper of the night was Governor Jim Justice quitting the Democratic Party to become a Republican. He said contentious budget negotiations within his old party turned him sour.

"When we had it done, like it or not like it, but the Democrats walked away from me," said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia, who officially will switch his voter registration on Friday.

State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were stunned by the news, but pledged to make the states new political dynamic work.

"You know we've had some difficulties in the past obviously, and I hope that we can put those behind us and work together," said House Speaker Tim Armstead, (R) West Virginia.

"He's been a Republican as a registered voter, I just don't know. This is news to me, and the Governor's going to do what he's going to do." said Del. Ken Hicks, (D) Wayne.

The news of the party switch broke just hours before the rally, leaving many in the audience stunned.

"I'm surprised at that. I really am, but I am happy," said Patty Lewis, a West Virginia Voter.

"It made my night complete with him switching from Democrat to Republican," said John Vetzell, a West Virginia Voter. 

The Governor is already talking about a special session with lawmakers within weeks.

The Chairwoman of the state Democratic Party issued a statement saying the party switch was a quote, 'slap in the face,' and, 'shame on him.'

WATCH THE RALLY HERE:

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