- Associated Press - Friday, January 18, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Republican Gov. Jim Justice is filling a West Virginia Senate vacancy with a Democrat who works as a lobbyist for his family’s companies.

Paul Hardesty replaces Democrat Richard Ojeda, who resigned to mount a long-shot run for the U.S. presidency. Justice announced his choice Thursday.

Hardesty is the managing member of a government relations firm whose clients include several Justice family companies. He also was president of the Logan County board of education, a position he resigned to take the Senate job.

Hardesty, who lives in Holden, was among nine Democrats who applied to fill the 7th District seat, which stretches across Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo and Wayne counties.

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