Jim Justice, West Virginia’s sole billionaire and the Democratic candidate for governor, said he would not support Hillary Clinton in an interview with West Virginia MetroNews. According to The Hill, Justice said Clinton’s energy policies are “diametrically” opposed to his own.
Clinton famously said she intended to put “a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” ahead of the state’s primary in May, one of several factors that led to Bernie Sanders’s victory there. Justice’s opposition also shows how much things have changed in West Virginia, which Bill Clinton carried in both 1992 and 1996. It is now deeply conservative, and Democrats have thrived only by catering to both the coal and gun lobbies.
Justice understands that this is how a Democrat becomes governor in West Virginia—and this is why he is the first Democratic gubernatorial candidate to refuse to endorse Clinton’s presidential bid. At the very least, his affection for coal is sincere: His own massive fortune depends on the survival of the industry, which is on a steady and seemingly irreversible downward slope.