By Steven Allen Adams
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – He won election in 2016 as a Democrat, but Gov. Jim Justice won reelection Tuesday night as the first elected Republican governor since Cecil Underwood in 1996.
According to unofficial election results compiled by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, Justice defeated his Democratic challenger, Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, by more than 31 percentage points.
Justice received 254,610 votes (63.56%) with 19 counties reporting results at press time, while Salango received 128,440 votes (32.06%). Other candidates receiving votes included Libertarian Party nominee Erika Kolenich with 9,544 votes and Mountain Party nominee Daniel Lutz Jr. with 5,588 votes. The Associated Press called the race for Justice nearly immediately after the polls closed at 7:30 p.m.
The governor celebrated his win with family, friends, supporters, and other Republican candidates at the Greenbrier Resort, the historic hotel owned and operated by the Justice family. Taking the stage shortly after the election was called, Justice thanked West Virginians for putting their trust in him once again…