Ex-W.Va Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher running for governor

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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (AP) - Former West Virginia Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher has announced that he is running for governor in 2020.

The Republican businessman announced his campaign Tuesday morning in Bridgeport, saying the state needs "real leadership" to create economic growth in the state.

Thrasher is the founder of an engineering company with about 700 employees and offices in seven states.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice forced Thrasher out of the commerce department last year after numerous complaints about poor management of the RISE housing-assistance program for 2016 flood victims.

Thrasher's candidacy after Justice this week beefed up his own re-election effort, adding current and former associates of President Donald Trump amid.

Justice's campaign manager panned Thrasher in a statement after he announced his candidacy.

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