Tuesday morning, former West Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Bridgeport businessman Woody Thrasher announced his intention to run for governor in 2020 against his former boss, Gov. Jim Justice.
Thrasher made the announcement in front of his business, The Thrasher Group, in Bridgeport. The event was emceed by Del. Ben Queen(R-48th District). Thrasher’s sons Cody, Austin and Kaelin spoke before Thrasher made his announcement:
“The reasons I’m running are simple: We need real leadership that creates economic growth to bring jobs and keep our young people here.
West Virginia desperately needs focused, hands-on leadership – the very same kind I used to build this business. We deserve a full-time governor who is ready, willing and able, around the clock, to bring us jobs, to fix our roads and to preserve our conservative values.
Voters finally had enough and elected a Republican Legislature that has already done great things to advance West Virginia. They did the heavy lifting on major initiatives, like passing pivotal right-to-work legislation, but they’ve tried to do more, and the missing link is our missing governor.
Our citizens and our Legislature deserve a governor who will work full-time to help them continue making necessary changes, like school choice, lower taxes and fixing our roads.
President Trump keeps it simple: more jobs, higher wages and better roads equal making America great again. It really can be that simple here in West Virginia.”
Thrasher served as Commerce Secretary until last June, when Justice requested his resignation, following controversy over delays in distributing flood recovery funds.
The announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Justice hiring former campaign director for President Trump, Mike Lukach, to head up his re-election campaign. Following Thrasher’s announcement, Lukach issued this statement:
“We welcome the entry of Mr. Thrasher into the 2020 Republican Primary.
When Governor Justice appointed Mr. Thrasher as the Secretary of Commerce, the Governor, and all West Virginians, expected him to put the people of this state above his own interests. It’s sad that the opposite happened. Instead, Mr. Thrasher used his appointed position to travel all over the world on the taxpayers’ dime to promote the private companies of his friends, and at the same time, forgot about the RISE flood relief program and all the West Virginians still recovering from the 2016 floods. The Governor fights for the taxpayers of this state and won’t tolerate waste and abuse, which is why he demanded that Mr. Thrasher resign.
Under Governor Justice’s conservative leadership, this state has gone from bankruptcy to prosperity. Governor Justice has worked with President Trump to cut taxes, eliminate wasteful spending and create jobs. The Governor is going to continue working every day to protect West Virginia from the abuse of politicians like Mr. Thrasher.”
Following the announcement in Bridgeport, Thrasher is scheduled to head to the Secretary of State’s Office in Charleston to officially file to run.
In addition to Thrasher and Justice, the following people have filed pre-candidacy paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office:
Mike Folk of Martinsburg
Rebecca Mareta Henderson of Parkersburg
Charles Sheedy of Charleston
Jody Murphy of Parkersburg
Cecil Silva of Morrisvale
Stephen Smith of Charleston
Edwin Vanover of Bluefield
Quintin Caldwell of Charleston
David Sartin of Kermit
Trent Larry of Gilbert