Alex Mooney easily defeated David McKinley for the new West Virginia #2 Republican nomination. Mooney won 54% to 36%. McKinley carried only three counties: Ohio by 28%, Marshall by 9%, and Pleasants by only 1%. Even worse, had the election just been held in McKinley’s old WV #1, he still would have lost to Alex Mooney by 4.4%.
A simple summary of each candidate’s strategy would be that McKinley ran on his record and Mooney on Trump’s endorsement. The winner? This one’s easy: in West Virginia, Trump’s seal of approval wins the trick every time.
Joe Manchin’s McKinley endorsement changed few minds. My hunch is that most of Manchin’s Republican supporters were already going to vote for McKinley. (On many issues, McKinley and Machin really aren’t very far apart.) Most of those who voted for Mooney have probably appreciated Manchin’s crippling of Biden’s agenda but that doesn’t mean they will listen to him on how they should vote. Add to this, earlier speculation that a Mooney victory might mean that he would challenge Manchin in 2024. (The standard explanation for Manchin’s endorsement was that he was helping an old friend. It seems just as likely, that Manchin’s true motivation was to take-out a future opponent.)
Ogden Newspapers all-out support for McKinley had little or no effect upon voters. More important to the outcome, I think, was the paper’s unwillingness to ever criticize Trump during and even after his presidency. For example, throughout the first half of 2021, Ogden published numerous columnists who asserted that the election was clearly stolen. Those columns were never balanced with the publishing of any of the numerous AP stories, investigative reports, and court decisions that there was no fraud. Mooney and Trump played to the "stolen election" audience; is it any wonder that a majority of Republicans question the results of the 2020 election? (Of course, I’m assuming that publishing the facts might have made a difference – that’s a questionable assumption with this group.)
The ethics investigations into Mooney’s congressional finances were also irrelevant. Does anyone who supports Trump care about misuse of campaign and congressional funds? Next to the various questionable financial activities carried out by Trump and his organizations, charging taxpayers for chicken sandwiches certainly wasn’t going to bring much squawking from his supporters.
Found this which provides a nice overview of the election:
Any thoughts on this election from readers? Hit the comment balloon or email me.
Note -- apologies to reader KP for the tardy posting below of his excellent comments. (Had some illness only to find that Disqus refused to load when I did get back.) I especially think his second paragraph is spot-on -- he, like other important Republicans, will surely land on his feet.