U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has endorsed Jim Justice in the West Virginia gubernatorial race.
Justice's campaign announced the endorsement Wednesday.
Justice, the owner of The Greenbrier resort and several coal companies, is running in the May 10 Democratic primary against former U.S. attorney Booth Goodwin and state Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler.
“There are three extremely capable candidates in the Democratic race for Governor, but I believe that Jim Justice is uniquely qualified to handle the major challenges that West Virginia is facing," said Sen. Manchin in a Wednesday news release.
"I saw first-hand the ability, experience and vision Jim has when he stepped up and saved thousands of jobs in West Virginia. I believe this is the type of leadership we need to lead our state through the next four years," he added.
Manchin, a Democrat, was West Virginia's governor when Justice bought The Greenbrier out of bankruptcy in 2009.
Over the past few months, Justice has faced criticism for unpaid business taxes and environmental fines in several states. A federal judge also recently ruled against him in a $2 million royalty dispute related to the sale of a coal mine.