UPDATE: Justice campaign responds to Thrasher announcement

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) -- UPDATE 4/16/19 11:30AM
Governor Jim Justice's Campaign Manager, Mike Lukach, released the following statement after Woody Thrasher announced he is running for governor.

“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.”

ORIGINAL STORY 4/16/19 10:30AM
Harrison County businessman and former State Secretary of Commerce Woody Thrasher is challenging Governor Jim Justice for the 2020 nomination.

Thrasher is making the official announcement Tuesday morning outside Thrasher Group, an architecture and engineering firm in Bridgeport.

Thrasher said he feels there is a lack of leadership in Charleston.

"We have a very serious challenge. It's going to take a lot of heavy lifting," Thrasher said. "I think in order for us to be successful, it's going to take someone who is going to work their tail off to move this state in the right direction. Unfortunately, I didn't have the confidence that was going to happen."

Thrasher served in Justice’s administration as the commerce secretary. Thrasher resigned in June, per the governor's request, after issues with the RISE West Virginia flood recovery program that his department handled.