There’s no clear-cut favorite in the crowded, seven-way GOP primary for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s House seat in West Virginia, but if Alex Mooney can win the nomination, he won’t be the only one claiming victory.
The Republican is running with the backing of the Senate Conservatives Fund, one of the most aggressively antiestablishment outside groups in the GOP universe — and one that mostly has kept to Senate races. But SCF, whose backing of anti-incumbent challengers has earned the enmity of other Republicans, endorsed candidates in a half-dozen House races this election to help put more like-minded conservatives in Congress — and create a bench of recruits for higher office in later years.
West Virginia’s primary on Tuesday is the first time this year that one of those candidates will face voters.
Mooney, a former state senator and state party chairman in Maryland, has enjoyed a fundraising advantage over his Republican opponents for Capito’s seat, thanks in part to SCF’s and other outside groups’ attention to a race that has not received much other outside scrutiny. (Capito is leaving her seat to run for the Senate.) Almost all of Mooney’s disclosed fundraising has come from out of state, and he spent over $400,000 before the primary, compared with a little over a quarter-million dollars each from pharmacist Ken Reed and former George W. Bush administration official Charlotte Lane. Less than 5 percent of Mooney’s itemized donations came from West Virginia.
Mooney has also attracted to the district an additional $161,000 in outside spending, not only from SCF but from groups like the Freedom Frontier Action Fund, Citizens United, and CatholicVote.org, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He was also endorsed by the Tea Party Express. SCF spent more than $63,000 supporting Mooney, with most of that going into a 60-second radio ad saying, “It’s not enough to elect Republicans to Congress. We need to elect conservative Republicans.”
The only outside effort on Lane’s behalf, from a super PAC devoted to electing more Republican women, amounted to less than one-tenth of the pro-Mooney spending.
Like other candidates backed by SCF, Mooney has spent the race playing up his conservative credentials, criticizing Lane for her past positions on abortion and touting his support for gun rights and for homeschooling children. Campaign manager Nick Clemens, in an email, called Mooney “the only major conservative candidate” in the race. But he has had to handle claims that he’s a carpetbagger looking for a congressional seat: Mooney considered running for Congress in Maryland in 2012, briefly setting up an exploratory committee.
The seven-way race is “unpredictable,” Clemens said, and the Charleston Daily Mail reported it’s unlikely any candidate gets more than 10,000 votes. But the low expectations belie big stakes as the Senate Conservatives Fund and other groups make an unusual bet on an open House seat.
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."