While Republicans see this open-seat contest as their best opportunity to pick up a Democratic-held seat in 2016, Democrats aren’t folding their tent here. Billionaire Jim Justice easily won the Democratic nomination with 51 percent of the vote. Justice owns the Greenbrier resort and, according to his bio, is head of 47 different companies that are engaged in businesses ranging coal mining to agriculture to golf courses. To date, he has self-funded his campaign, and overwhelmed his primary opponents on television. Democrats hope that Justice’s pro-coal views and profile as an outsider will back voters who have abandoned the party in recent statewide elections. At the same time, Justice and his companies have been the subject of countless lawsuits, fines and tax liens, providing Republicans with plenty of fodder with which to challenge him. On the Republican side, state Senate President Bill Cole was unchallenged for the nomination. A businessman, Cole has had something of a meteoric rise in state politics. He was appointed to a vacancy in the state House of Delegates in 2010, moved to the state Senate
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