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)