With Outside Help, Mooney Wins GOP Nod for West Virginia House Seat

The former Maryland state legislator had the backing of numerous conservative outside groups.

West Virginia congressional candidate Alex Mooney
National Journal
Jack Fitzpatrick
See more stories about...
Jack Fitzpatrick
May 13, 2014, 5:37 p.m.

Former Mary­land state le­gis­lat­or Alex Mooney won a crowded Re­pub­lic­an primary race in West Vir­gin­ia’s 2nd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict Tues­day night, in­stantly be­com­ing the fa­vor­ite to re­place GOP Rep. Shel­ley Moore Capito in the House and hand­ing the out­side groups that sup­por­ted him a big win in an open House seat.

Mooney had 33 per­cent of the vote with 59 per­cent of pre­cincts re­port­ing when the As­so­ci­ated Press called the race. Former George W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial Char­lotte Lane and phar­macist Ken Reed trailed with 20 per­cent of the vote each, and four oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans di­vided the re­mainder.

Mooney will face at­tor­ney Nick Ca­sey, who won the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion. The dis­trict fa­vors Re­pub­lic­ans (Mitt Rom­ney won there by a 22-point mar­gin in 2012), though Demo­crats hope the loc­al party brand re­mains strong enough to chal­lenge for the seat. Capito is run­ning for the Sen­ate, and she and Demo­crat­ic Sec­ret­ary of State Nat­alie Ten­nant eas­ily won their primar­ies Tues­day night to set up a rare wo­man-versus-wo­man gen­er­al-elec­tion match­up in the Moun­tain State.

There was no clear fa­vor­ite in the sev­en-can­did­ate Re­pub­lic­an primary race, but Mooney out­spent his op­pon­ents and at­trac­ted out­side sup­port from groups like the Tea Party Ex­press and Cit­izens United. He spent more than $400,000 on the primary race, and he be­nefited from an­oth­er $161,000 in out­side spend­ing sup­port­ing him, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spons­ive Polit­ics.

This was the first House primary for a can­did­ate en­dorsed by Mooney’s highest-pro­file back­er, the Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund. The anti­es­tab­lish­ment group, which soun­ded un­happy notes about Capito’s Sen­ate run but couldn’t mount an in­tra-party chal­lenge against her, spent over $60,000 on ra­dio ads back­ing Mooney and an­nounced in a vic­tory state­ment Tues­day night that it had raised $30,000 for him dur­ing the primary.

“It’s not enough to elec­ted Re­pub­lic­ans,” the SCF ad’s nar­rat­or said. “We need to elect con­ser­vat­ive Re­pub­lic­ans.” Mooney is one of six House Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates en­dorsed by SCF this year, and any vic­tor­ies would provide en­dorsees with the elect­or­al base to make a fu­ture run for high­er of­fice. When SCF made its first House en­dorse­ment, for Rep. Jim Briden­stine of Ok­lahoma, the group’s state­ment al­luded to the pos­sib­il­ity of a fu­ture bid for the Sen­ate.

Lane was the only oth­er can­did­ate to get out­side fin­an­cial sup­port. Wo­men Lead PAC, which sup­ports Re­pub­lic­an wo­men can­did­ates, spent slightly more than $25,000 back­ing her.

Op­pon­ents sought to counter Mooney’s spend­ing ad­vant­age by paint­ing him as a car­pet­bag­ger on the hunt for a con­gres­sion­al seat. He con­sidered run­ning for Mary­land’s 6th Dis­trict in 2012 but de­cided against it — and moved to friend­li­er, more con­ser­vat­ive pas­tures in West Vir­gin­ia. Mooney noted that many res­id­ents of West Vir­gin­ia’s east­ern pan­handle have moved there from Mary­land.

While Mooney will be favored against Ca­sey, the com­pet­it­ive and costly Re­pub­lic­an primary means the Demo­crat will start the gen­er­al elec­tion with more money to spend. Be­fore coast­ing through his primary, Ca­sey re­por­ted hav­ing more than $626,000 cash on hand, com­pared with Mooney’s $213,000.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
2 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×