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Caperton endorses Salango for governor in 2020

December 18, 2019 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Former West Virginia governor Gaston Caperton has endorsed 2020 gubernatorial hopeful Ben Salango, according to a Wednesday news release from the candidate’s campaign.

Caperton, who led the state for two terms from 1989 to 1997, said he looks forward to hitting the campaign trail to help Salango, a fellow Democrat.

“Now more than ever, West Virginia needs a governor who isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, work hard, and move our great state forward,” he said. “Ben Salango is the guy we’ve been looking for.”

Salango is an attorney and a Kanawha County commissioner. He announced his candidacy in October and used his opening statements to lob criticisms at current Republican Gov. Jim Justice, saying the state needs a chief executive who isn’t “buried in controversy, lawsuits and ethical scandals.”

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“I am honored to have the support of Governor Gaston Caperton,” said Salango. “His work and commitment to public education as governor is and should be an inspiration for all other West Virginia governors and public officials.”

Salango is set to face off for the Democratic nomination against a slate of candidates that includes state Sen. Ron Stollings, progressive Stephen Smith and others.

Justice is running for reelection on the Republican ticket.