In what they acknowledged is a long-shot bid, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. urged unhappy Virginia counties Tuesday to secede and join a neighboring state where Democrats aren't in charge. Both Justice, a Republican in a state where the GOP dominates the legislature, and Falwell, whose university is in Lynchburg, Va., said the invitation to join West Virginia sends a valid message, the AP reports. "If you're not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere where you may be," said Justice, who's running for reelection. "We stand strongly behind the Second Amendment and we stand strongly for the unborn."
Democrats took full control of the Virginia statehouse in November for the first time in a generation and pledged to enact gun-control measures, roll back abortion restrictions, and prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people. Lawmakers in West Virginia have introduced formal resolutions inviting parts of Virginia to join their state. "We saw their way of life under attack and we wanted to offer assistance," said Del. Gary Howell, a West Virginia Republican who sponsored one of the resolutions. The announcement from Falwell and Justice drew laughs from both sides of the aisle in Virginia. "What are they doing, a comedy routine?" said Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger. Any "Vexit" move would require the consent of both states and Congress. (Last month, Virginia ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.)