Trump-Backed Mooney Wins W.Va. House GOP Primary

Trump-Backed Mooney Wins W.Va. House GOP Primary alex mooney attends the save america rally in pennsylvania last friday Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va. (Gene Puskar/AP)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 10 May 2022 08:59 PM

Endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., is Decision Desk HQ's projected winner over Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., by 51%-38% with 95% of the vote in for a hotly contested West Virginia House GOP primary Tuesday night.

Decision Desk HQ called the race at 8:42 p.m. ET.

The victory runs Trump's 2022 midterm primary record to 56-0 with a big results due in Nebraska later Tuesday night.

The unusual West Virginia race pitted two incumbent Republican members of Congress against each other, but only one had Trump's endorsement, while the other supported President Joe Biden's infrastructure deal.

Incumbent Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., was declared the winner in the state's other House GOP primary. The mountain state has lost a congressional seat due to its shrinking population and has just two House seats now.

Voters in Republican-leaning Nebraska and West Virginia picked candidates for U.S. Congress and other state races on Tuesday, with multiple matchups again testing former President Donald Trump's sway with voters.

The contests are part of a series of primaries that will set the stage for Nov. 8 elections in which Republicans are favored to win control of at least one chamber of Congress, which would give them the power to bring Democratic President Joe Biden's legislative agenda to a halt.

Voting is due to continue in Nebraska until 9 p.m. ET.

Trump has endorsed more than 150 candidates this year as he lays the groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2024, among them "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, who secured the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Ohio last week.

Trump has also endorsed candidates in high-profile Senate primaries in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia, set to take place later this month.

The congressional race in West Virginia pits Mooney, who has backed the former president's accusations of fraud in the 2020 election, over McKinley, who is backed by Gov. Jim Justice.

McKinley has campaigned on his support for Biden's infrastructure package, which will send billions of dollars in new spending for roads, bridges and other projects to the low-income state. Mooney, like most House Republicans, voted against the package.

In Nebraska, Trump has endorsed business executive Charles Herbster in the governor's race. Several women have accused Herbster of sexual harassment, a charge he denies. Herbster has filed a defamation lawsuit against one of the accusers, state Senator Julie Slama. Slama has filed a countersuit alleging battery.

Trump, who also faces multiple accusations of harassment and sexual assault, said at a May 1 rally that he believed Herbster is innocent.

Herbster faces Jim Pillen, a hog farmer and university board member who has drawn the backing of the current governor and many other political figures in the Midwestern farm state.

At that rally, Trump also urged his supporters to "vote like hell" against Republican Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., who has criticized Trump's role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump said he backed challenger Steve Kuehl. The winner of that primary contest will face a competitive November election in the Omaha-based district against the Democratic nominee, either Tony Vargas or Alisha Shelton.

Also in Nebraska, Republican voters in the eastern part of the state will pick a nominee to succeed former Representative Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned in March after being convicted of lying to federal investigators about illegal campaign contributions.

State Sen. Mike Flood is favored to win that contest, which would put him in line for victory in November in the solidly Republican district. Flood has already won the Republican endorsement for a June 28 special election to fill Fortenberry's vacant seat through January 2023.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.