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Polls are closed in West Virginia, where former President Donald Trump is not on the ballot, but his GOP prestige is very much at stake in a fierce battle for a Republican congressional nomination between two lawmakers outgoing.
West Virginia lost a congressional seat in the once-a-decade congressional redistribution, and Republican Representatives David McKinley and Alex Mooney were dragged into the state’s 2nd District.
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The race has in part turned into a test of the former president’s status as the Republican Party’s most popular and influential politician, nearly 16 months away from the White House.
Mooney boasts on the campaign trail and in ads that he’s the “only candidate Trump trusts to stand up for our values” and criticizes McKinley as a “RINO” and a “sellout.”
Mooney has repeatedly attacked McKinley for voting in favor of the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — one of President Biden’s national achievements, which will bring a lot of federal dollars to West Virginia, a State in dire need of infrastructure improvements. And Mooney targets McKinley for supporting the Democratic-controlled House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists aimed at disrupting Congress’ certification of the Electoral College’s victory. Biden on Trump.
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Mooney told Fox News on Tuesday morning that Trump’s endorsement was important in the race. “Voters understand that he supported me,” Mooney said. “I think it makes a big difference.”
McKinley, in its latest ad, accuses Mooney, who is currently the subject of an ethics investigation, of being “desperate” and of “fraud”.
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“Mooney opposed Trump’s wall four times; opposed Trump’s plan to ban fentanyl from China; opposed Trump’s plan for veterans,” says McKinley spot moderator .
Although the former president did not host a rally for Mooney in West Virginia, he did invite the congressman to speak last Friday at a rally in neighboring Pennsylvania.
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McKinley enjoys the support of Republican Gov. Jim Justice.
And in an interesting twist, longtime moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a former two-term governor with universal ID in West Virginia, has crossed party lines to star in a new ad on behalf of McKinley. .
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In the spot, Manchin accuses Mooney of lying about McKinley and accuses “Alex Mooney has proven he’s all about Alex Mooney, but West Virginia knows David McKinley is all about us.”
Fox News’ Jake Karalexis contributed to this report
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