Ashton Marra Published

Romney Stumps for GOP Hopefuls in West Virginia


  Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney made a stop in West Virginia Tuesday to officially endorse the West Virginia GOP’s candidates for Congress.

Romney addressed a crowded room at the Tamarack conference center in Beckley, officially announcing his endorsement for Shelley Moore Capito, Evan Jenkins and Alex Mooney.

The coal rhetoric was far from subtle, even from Romney, who easily molded himself into an industry supporter during his short, five minute address.

“This is the team that’s got to represent West Virginia in Washington, let me tell you,” he said. “and they’re going to stand for coal, for the people who work in the coal industry, the people throughout West Virginia that care about those miners and those jobs.”

In the days leading up to his visit, the state Democratic Party criticized their Republican opponents for inviting the former governor to the state because of a statement he made in 2003 in front of a coal-fired power plant in Salem, Massachusetts.

“I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people and that plant kills people,” he said at the time.

Romney was pushing the plant to comply with new state emissions standards at the time.

Still Capito, who stood next to Romney as he took questions from reporters, said she was proud to have his backing in her race against Democrat Natalie Tennant.

Romney seemed to overshadow West Virginia’s candidates in the few minutes he spent with media after the event. He openly criticized the way the president is handling foreign affairs with Iraq, Syria and Russia and denied any rumors he may throw his name in the hat for a third presidential run.

“I’ve actually answered that one a lot of times. I’m not running. I expect to be getting behind some good people or a good person who will be,” he said.

Romney won all of West Virginia’s 55 counties in the 2012 general election against President Obama, but his visit didn’t come with out criticism.

A group of protestors stood outside the rally with signs that read “West Virginia is not for sale.” The protestors included members of the United Mine Workers Association.