Former President Donald J. Trump endorsed Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia for senator, in a race that is widely viewed as a prime pickup opportunity as Republicans seek to reclaim control of the Senate.
Mr. Trump, in a post on Truth Social on Wednesday evening, praised Mr. Justice’s stances on issues including the southern border, energy policy and the economy. “Big Jim will be a Great UNITED STATES SENATOR, and has my Complete & Total Endorsement. HE WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN!!!” Mr. Trump wrote.
The endorsement was a blow to Representative Alex Mooney, another Republican running for the seat, whom Mr. Trump endorsed in his congressional race last year.
Mr. Justice, a popular two-term governor, announced his bid in April for the seat held by Senator Joe Manchin III, who is seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats facing re-election in 2024 as Democrats hold the chamber by a tight 51-49 margin. Mr. Trump won West Virginia in the 2020 election by nearly 40 percentage points.
Mr. Manchin has not yet announced if he will seek re-election, and the race is marked as a tossup by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
Shortly after the endorsement, Mr. Justice shared a screenshot of the Truth Social post on X, formerly known as Twitter, along with a fund-raising link, writing: “I’m endorsed by @realDonaldTrump. I’m the only American First Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in West Virginia.”
As Mr. Trump mounts his presidential bid, he has made few endorsements in the 2024 election cycle — a departure from the 2022 midterm cycle, when he endorsed several losing candidates in important swing states.
In addition to supporting Mr. Justice, he has endorsed Kari Lake — who unsuccessfully ran for governor of Arizona with his endorsement last year — in her race for the seat held by Senator Kyrsten Sinema.