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Trump-Endorsed Candidate Beats Manchin-Backed Challenger In GOP Primary

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Topline

Rep. Alex Mooney won a Republican House primary in West Virginia on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, after a tense race that pitted the Trump-endorsed Mooney against fellow incumbent Rep. David McKinley, who was backed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Key Facts

West Virginia lost a House seat in this year’s redistricting process, forcing Mooney and McKinley to run against each other in one of the state’s two remaining districts.

What To Watch For

Mooney will face off against Democratic nominee Barry Wendell in a general election in November. With the exception of Manchin, Democratic candidates usually struggle in deep-red West Virginia.

Key Background

Mooney and McKinley have competed in a bitter primary, with both candidates questioning each other’s credentials. Mooney enthusiastically touted his Trump endorsement, a key asset in a state that Trump won by more than 40 points in 2020, and the former president cast rival McKinley as a “Republican in name only” and criticized McKinley for voting in favor of a bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed last year. Meanwhile, McKinley has earned endorsements from Gov. Jim Justice (R) and Manchin, who is popular in West Virginia despite his party affiliation. Manchin has suggested Mooney moved to West Virginia from Maryland about a decade ago for “political opportunity,” and praised McKinley for opposing President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better package (a bill Manchin also opposed, frustrating fellow Democrats).

Tangent

The West Virginia primary was the latest test of Trump’s power in Republican politics. Trump has endorsed dozens of Republicans this year: Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance won a tough primary last week after earning Trump’s backing, but Trump-supported Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue is struggling against incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp ahead of a May 24 primary. None of Trump’s endorsees have lost primaries so far this year, though some of them were incumbents who ran virtually unopposed.



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