Manchin endorses McKinley, denounces Mooney attack

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With more than a week until primary election day, U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., has secured the endorsement of another West Virginia official: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

The senator’s support comes in the middle of West Virginia’s early voting period — which goes through May 7 — and before Election Day on May 10.

In a 30-second advertisement released by the McKinley campaign, Manchin criticized McKinley’s opponent — Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va. — for previously accusing McKinley of opening the door for a sweeping domestic policy proposal by supporting last year’s infrastructure law. McKinley and 12 other Republicans voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, citing the United States’ infrastructure problems and necessary investments. West Virginia is set to receive billions of dollars for efforts such as road work, broadband internet expansion and utility projects.

Mooney has described the infrastructure law as “a bill no conservative would support.” Both House of Representatives members opposed last year’s Build Back Better framework, which would have allocated funds addressing issues related to health care, education and climate change.

Manchin also backed the infrastructure law, but his rejection of the domestic policy plan sunk all hopes of the Senate passing related legislation.

“I’ve always said, ‘If I can’t go home and explain it, and I can’t vote for it.’ And that’s why I opposed Build Back Better,” Manchin says in the advertisement. “For Alex Mooney and his out-of-state supporters to suggest David McKinley supported Build Back Better is an outright lie.”

U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. (File)

Manchin adds McKinley’s record shows the congressman opposes “reckless spending.”

“Alex Mooney has proven he’s all about Alex Mooney,” the senator continues. “But West Virginians know David McKinley is all about us.”

When Manchin spoke to MetroNews in December, he thanked McKinley for supporting the infrastructure law.

“He should be credited for that. David put our state and what we’ve been working and fighting for above the pressure he knew he would get from the Republicans,” Manchin said, sitting in his Capitol Hill office.

McKinley and Mooney were forced into the same district during last year’s legislative redistricting efforts; the state lost one of its three congressional seats because of population changes since the 2010 census. The new 2nd Congressional District includes West Virginia’s northern counties and panhandles.

McKinley is a Wheeling native, while Mooney has resided in Charles Town since 2013.

Mooney has attacked McKinley for his infrastructure vote and supporting a commission to investigate the January 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. McKinley and 34 other Republicans backed the body’s creation, but McKinley has stated he opposes the current House select committee and its inquiry into the riot, in which Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va. (File)

The former president has cited both of McKinley’s votes as reasons for endorsing Mooney.

“Congressman Alex Mooney is a conservative warrior running in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. His opponent is a RINO who supported the ‘Unfrastucture Bill’ and the Sham January 6 Unselect Committee,” Trump said this week in a press release. “Alex fights for our Veterans, for Energy and Clean Coal, Election Integrity, our Borders, Jobs, and against the horrible drug epidemic. On May 10th, Vote for Alex Mooney, who has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love West Virginia!”

The Mooney campaign described Manchin’s support as “further proof David McKinley is a complete and total RINO.”

RINO is an acronym for “Republican In Name Only.”

“Joe Manchin and David McKinley both supported Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion non-infrastructure bill. They also supported the sham January 6th witch hunt investigation against Donald Trump and his allies. Manchin even voted for Trump’s impeachment,” Mooney campaign manager Teemu Garrity told MetroNews. “It is not surprising that Joe Manchin and the Democratic Party want to defeat a principled conservative like Alex Mooney.”

Gov. Jim Justice, a Trump ally and friend, has endorsed McKinley, noting the potential infrastructure investments impacting West Virginia.

“Frankly, I do not agree with his vote to authorize a January 6th investigative committee,” the governor previously said. “However, it did take a lot of courage for him to vote for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and I know without question that vote was done out of his love for the great people of West Virginia. The infrastructure dollars we will receive will positively impact the lives of all West Virginians in a major way.”

Justice and McKinley are members of a working group focused on developing a hydrogen energy hub in West Virginia. Manchin, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and state legislative leaders are also part of the group.

Capito will not make an endorsement in the 2nd District contest.

“I work well with both members, but I have been recently with Congressman McKinley on several occasions to talk about the bipartisan infrastructure package,” Capito told reporters Thursday. “I think his vote was absolutely the right vote. I think we see constituents and county leaders and city leaders really looking forward to modernizing their transportation and water systems, broadband, and other results from this bill.”

Capito added West Virginia “will be served well” by either Republican.

“I wish them both the best of luck,” she said.

Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., is also not endorsing a 2nd Congressional District candidate.

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