West Virginia governor calls on Virginia counties to secede and join his state

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Gov. Jim Justice invited any Virginia county upset about their state's new Democratic majority to join up with its conservative neighbor.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, appeared at a press conference on Tuesday and endorsed a proposal by evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. that certain counties secede from Virginia and join Justice's neighboring state.

Falwell, who leads the private evangelical Liberty University in Virginia, specifically proposed that conservative counties frustrated with the state's new overwhelming Democratic majority leave his home state for West Virginia.

"West Virginia's role is one thing, and that is to tell the world just how inviting we are and that we would welcome [them] with open arms," Justice said on Tuesday. "If there's people, or there's businesses, or there's counties that are discontent, we want the world to know just how welcoming West Virginia is."

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Citing Falwell's suggestion that conservative counties secede, Justice added, "Whether it's a long shot or a sure shot, you're never going to get there unless there's an effort to try."

Moments earlier, Falwell had described the Legislature in Virginia as a "barbaric, totalitarian and corrupt Democratic regime" that is "trampling on individual rights throughout the state."

He was referring specifically to proposals currently circulating the Legislature intended to combat gun violence, an issue many of the Democrats who won races in Virginia ran on in 2019, despite the NRA's heavy presence there.

Falwell then baselessly claimed that the Legislature no longer reflected the will of Virginia voters because many who voted for Democrats lived in Northern Virginia and were employed by the federal government. Falwell did not explain why those votes were less valuable than those from more rural counties in Virginia.

The Republican-led Legislature in West Virginia recently backed a resolution encouraging counties in Virginia to join them.

Congress would have to approve of counties switching states, as would the legislature of both states. Falwell himself conceded Tuesday that such an outcome would be unlikely.

Virginia voted to secede from the United States in 1861 and joined the pro-slavery Confederacy, which ultimately lost to the United States in the Civil War. Virginia rejoined the United States in 1869 and has been a part of the country for the last 151 years.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.