Mooney Rides Trump Endorsement to West Virginia GOP Primary Win

Mooney Rides Trump Endorsement to West Virginia GOP Primary Win
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W. Va.) speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in Charleston, W. Va., on Aug. 21, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Two Republican incumbents spent six months and more than $6 million trying to out-Trump each other but, in the end, only one got the former president’s endorsement and that proved to be the difference.

Rep. Alex Mooney (R) defeated Rep. David McKinley (R) in a battle of sitting congressmen Tuesday in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District (CD 2) Republican primary, according to a projection by Decision Desk HQ.

With 67 percent of the districts reporting at 8:56 p.m., Mooney received 50.25 percent of the vote to McKinley’s 39.59 percent, according to Decision Desk HQ.

Mooney overcame an early polling deficit after receiving an endorsement from former Republican President Donald Trump in November.

Mooney, 50, first elected to Congress in 2014, drew Trump’s endorsement as “a proud America First conservative” because he voted against President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure bill and against a bill to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In addition to Trump, Mooney garnered endorsements from the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, the House Freedom Fund, American Conservative Union, FreedomWorks PAC, and Republican U.S. Reps. Ronny Jackson of Texas and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

“Congressman Mooney is a conservative warrior,” Trump said in his November endorsement, calling McKinley “a RINO [Republican In Name Only] who supported the ‘Unfrastructure Bill’ and the ‘Sham Jan. 6 Unselect Committee.'”

That endorsement resonated with Republican voters. When Trump backed Mooney in November, he was trailing McKinley by 15 to 20 percentage points in the polls. By late April, polls indicated Mooney had turned the tables and was up by 15 percentage points.

McKinley, 75, a former state Republican Party Committee chair who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1996, has served in Congress since 2010, winning a seat occupied by Democrats since 1968.

He was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia’s only statewide elected Democrat, Democrat-turned-Republican Gov. Jim Justice, former Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the state’s Chamber of Commerce, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, and the Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia.

Mooney is not expected to be significantly challenged in November’s general election by Democrat Angela Dwyer, a security operations manager and mother of seven who defeated  Barry Wendell of Morgantown in the CD 2 primary.

McKinley and Mooney were left vying for the same seat after West Virginia lost one of its congressional districts in post-2020 Census reapportionment.

In West Virginia’s other congressional race, incumbent Rep. Carol Miller (R) easily cruised past four GOP primary challengers and will face Democrat Eugene Watson, a Bluefield State College instructor who ran unopposed in the primary, in November.

As in CD 2, Miller is expected to win a third term representing the state’s newly refashioned CD 1 in November’s general election in a state Trump won in 2020 by 38.9 points, and in 2016 by 42.1 points.

From The Epoch Times

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