WEST VIRGINIA | WV-gov

Global Strategy Group Poll Gives Justice Big Leads

Most 2016 West Virginia gubernatorial candidates have had muted responses to the Blankenship verdict.

Dec. 7, 2015, 9:14 a.m.

A Glob­al Strategy Group (D) poll for the cam­paign of wealthy busi­ness­man and coal mine own­er Jim Justice (D) shows him lead­ing state Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Jeff Kessler (D) 48-25% in the Demo­crat­ic primary (Dec. 1-3; 250 Dem LVs; +/- 5.2%). The poll also shows Justice lead­ing state Sen­ate Pres­id­ent Bill Cole (R) 44-32% in the gen­er­al elec­tion. (400 LVs; +/- 4.9%) (re­lease)

Justice is the only can­did­ate to so far go on the air with TV ads. He aired his first back in Oc­to­ber, and has run a total of three. The ads have likely helped build his name ID as a first time can­did­ate. They fo­cused on his work at the Green­bri­er re­sort, which he owns, his role as a bas­ket­ball coach, and his in­volve­ment in the coal in­dustry.

BLANKEN­SHIP TRI­AL. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) “has had noth­ing to say on the con­vic­tion of Don Blanken­ship, once one of the most power­ful men in West Vir­gin­ia’s coal in­dustry and a ma­jor play­er in state Re­pub­lic­an polit­ics, and the men who would re­place Tomblin as gov­ernor have not had much to say, either.”

Kessler said in a state­ment: “Al­though I’m dis­ap­poin­ted that the avail­able pen­alty for the Blanken­ship con­vic­tion doesn’t seem to fit the crime, it’s good to see that the justice sys­tem did im­pose some level of ac­count­ab­il­ity on mine op­er­at­ors and those who place profit above people.”

Justice weighed in mostly to say he didn’t have much to con­trib­ute:  “I am not go­ing to use this type of tragedy as a polit­ic­al foot­ball to gain pop­ular­ity.” Cole did not com­ment. (Char­le­ston Gaz­ette-Mail)

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