Mooney Polling Ahead of McKinley in West Virginia House Primary
The latest polling data from West Virginia Metro News shows Republican Rep. Alex Mooney holding a 15-point lead over Rep. David McKinley as they head into the final days before West Virginia’s May 10 Republican primary.
West Virginia lost a congressional house seat following the 2020 census and was required to redraw the districts of sitting representatives due to a population decline, forcing a bitter election race between Mooney and McKinley.
Mooney, who was first elected to the state’s 2nd Congressional District in 2014, is seeking his fifth term in office. McKinley, who was first elected to West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District in 2010, is seeking his seventh.
With Mooney receiving former President Donald Trump’s endorsement in 2021, the early polling results from this incumbent versus incumbent race could indicate how strong the former president’s hold is among conservative voters heading into the 2022 elections.
While the two men share the same political party, they differ in policies and beliefs.
Mooney voted against the Democrat-led Build Back Better infrastructure bill which would have provided $6 billion in aid to West Virginia for state projects while McKinley voted initially to approve the bill along with 12 other Republicans. The decision caused a firestorm of criticism against the Republicans who voted yes, particularly from Trump.
“Rep. Alex Mooney has done an outstanding job as Congressman in West Virginia,” Trump said in his November 2021 endorsement. “His opponent is a RINO who supported the ‘Unfrastructure Bill’ and the Sham Jan. 6 Unselect Committee.”
Both Mooney and McKinley ultimately opposed the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill on its final vote, and while Mooney denounces McKinley as a man who voted yes, McKinley has had some powerful political allies come to defend his views on the measure.
Most notably, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., starred in a political advertisement in defense of the underdog candidate.
“For Alex Mooney and his out of state supporters to suggest David McKinley supported Build Back Better is an outright lie,” Manchin said in the advertisement. “David McKinley has always opposed reckless spending, because it doesn’t make sense for West Virginia. Alex Mooney has proven he’s all about Alex Mooney. But West Virginians know David McKinley is all about us.”
Mooney has not escaped criticism and most recently he was accused by McKinley of wrongfully using footage from the House floor for his campaign ads.
“The ad is yet another example of Alex Mooney’s blatant disregard for House rules,” Kevin Stephens, campaign manager for McKinley, said in a statement to The Intelligencer published January 25. “His pattern of unethical behavior is the mark of an out-of-touch career politician and a reflection of the Washington swamp, not the values of West Virginians.”
Mooney also came under investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics in 2021 for possible misuse of campaign funds. So far, the investigation has found “substantial reason” to believe Mooney used campaign funds for personal family vacations and dining while traveling, and has since released a commitment to investigate the case further.
“Look at the Office of Congressional Ethics, the reports are full of misrepresentations and unsupported allegations. I’m not going to get into every detail,” Mooney said in a Talkline radio debate with McKinley on May 5.
“But I am working with the ethics committee, the standing ethics committee. I’m cooperating with them to answer their questions about all these things.”
With Republicans polling ahead of Democrats just months before the midterms, the GOP is expected to take at least one chamber of congress. If elected to return to the House, both McKinley and Mooney said they would vote for Kevin McCarthy to be House Speaker.
Registered voters in West Virginia will be able to cast their ballot in the primary on May 10.
Brock can be reached at [email protected]