Thursday, April 14, 2016

West Virginia Democrats to face off in governor race debate

(AP) — For the first — and likely only — time this election, the three Democratic candidates in the open race for West Virginia governor will take the same debate stage.

Billionaire businessman Jim Justice, former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler will participate in Saturday's hour-long debate.

The event sponsored by the West Virginia Democratic Party will take place 11 a.m. at the Charleston Civic Center. It will include seven questions from members of the media.

Goodwin and Kessler have participated in previous forums. Justice has declined those invitations.

The race is critical for a historically conservative Democratic state that has recently surged Republican.

Senate President Bill Cole is uncontested in the Republican primary.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is hitting his two-consecutive term limit.

The primary is May 10.