Endorsements, Affiliations Trump Issues In Second Congressional District Primary Race
Population decline reduced West Virginia’s congressional districts from three to two, pitting incumbent Republicans Alex Mooney and David McKinley against each other in the new Second Congressional District.
With one week before the May 10th primary, endorsements and affiliations rather than debating the issues highlight this much-talked-about race.
John Kilwein, Chair of the West Virginia University Department of Political Science said both candidates are working from well established political playbooks.
McKinley went against party lines and voted yes on President Biden’s federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Kilwein said that action comes from the Robert C. Byrd playbook of “bringing home the bacon.”
He said Mooney cast his no vote on the infrastructure bill straight out of the President Trump/MAGA playbook that you never give a Democrat a victory.
Kilwein said this race could be a harbinger of Trump’s staying power, both statewide and nationally.
“I don’t want to predict anything with McKinley slightly ahead in the polls,” Kilwein said. “But it is possible this is either the first indication of Trump's waning ability, or if Mooney wins, then you know that he's still very strong.”
The two men also voted on opposite sides on the question of creating a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. McKinley was one of 35 Republicans to vote for creating the commission. Mooney was a solid no vote.
Kilwein called it another element in an “excellent juxtaposition” giving voters something to think about.
“When you go back and you look at these issues, I mean, they vote most of the time together,” Kilwein said. “ But it's these two big, significant votes in the last year that make this race an interesting test.”
In the battle of endorsements, Gov. Jim Justice and Sen. Joe Machin support McKinley - and in a voter committed Trump state, Mooney touts his Trump endorsment.
Three other Republicans, Susan Buccher-Lochocki, Mike Seckman and Rhonda Hercules, are also on the primary ballot in the Second Congressional District race.