West Virginia started the year with 3 bright red congressional districts. Because, over the decade, so many people have fled the hellish state, it’s ending the year with just two. Statewide, only Wyoming (R+25) is redder. West Virginia’s PVI is R+22. (FYI- anything R+20 or above is an unadulterated Nazi constituency. In terms of states, that would include none from the Old Confederacy— just North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming.) WV-02, the northern half of the state, will be represented in Congress and on K Street by Alex Mooney, the laughably corrupt MAGA candidate who defeated David McKinley in the primary. Mooney was endorsed by Trump and McKinley by conservative Democrat Joe Manchin. It wasn’t close, despite McKinley spending around $11 million, almost 3 times more than Mooney.
Alex Mooney- 44,832 (54.2%)
David McKinley- 29,449 (35.6%)
McKinley won just 3 counties, Ohio, Marshall and Pleasants. Mooney took the other 24, several with over 70% of the vote.
Technically, Mooney is running against Democrat Barry Wendell now. But. let's be real…
FiveThirtyEight is forecasting a 66.9% to 33.1% wipeout. In reality, though, Mooney is running against Manchin, whose seat is up in two years and who just squeaked by last time he ran, beating the state’s Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey 49.6% to 46.3%. A recent poll shows that the 3 likeliest Republicans to take on Manchin would all best him if the election were held today. Look at that ad up top. Like I said, technically Mooney is running against Wendell but everyone knows he’s out for the Senate seat.
Patrick Morrisey vs Manchin- 49.5% to 36.2%
Alex Mooney vs Manchin- 44.9% to 37.9%
Jim Justice vs Manchin- 46.5% to 32%
On Wednesday, the Associated Press looked at what a totally dysfunctional, fucked-up place West Virginia is politically.
Wendell says Mooney agreed to do a virtual candidates forum with a local newspaper but the congressman hasn’t made himself available for a debate or to participate in any in-person events in the district alongside Wendell. He said he feels like both Republicans and Democrats, including Manchin, are ignoring his challenge.
“They don’t think there’s a chance,” he said.
Wendell, a 73-year-old retired substitute teacher and Social Security Administration claims representative, said he decided to run for Congress as a Democrat in West Virginia because nobody had entered the race with more political experience.
“I kept hoping somebody else would run. I just thought, ”‘Well, if nobody else is going to do this, I guess I have to do it,’” said Wendell, whose political experience consists of a four-year stint on city council in Morgantown, the state’s third-largest city. “My primary motivation was not to let the Republicans walk away with this election without having to put up a fight.”
Throughout his campaign, Mooney has hammered away at the need to reduce U.S. inflation and protect gun laws. He feels no need to talk much about the ongoing ethics inquiries he’s facing.
The nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics referred Mooney to the House Committee on Ethics last year based on allegations that he used campaign money for personal expenses, including trips to resorts and to Chick-fil-A.
Shortly after Mooney’s primary win, a report was released by the congressional watchdog group confirming that he likely broke House rules when he accepted a trip to Aruba in March 2021 allegedly paid for by a campaign client and family friend. The report also said two former Mooney staff members told the OCE that he “tampered with or withheld documents” and that Mooney refused to cooperate when the office tried to investigate the claims.
Mooney has insisted that he’s reimbursed campaign client HSP Direct and that no taxpayer funds were used to pay for the trip. He says his office is fully cooperating with the Committee on Ethics. But he has not seemed too concerned.
“I think voters are just focused on whether or not (candidates) are going to fight for their freedoms in this country, which are under serious attack right now with the current Congress and administration,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on.”
Wendell, who moved to West Virginia from California a decade ago, said he has tried unsuccessfully to ask the national Democratic party for more funding and support, to no avail.
Mooney has raised almost $4.4 million this election cycle on the race in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional district— with the most sizeable donations coming from conservative super PACS, according to federal election commission records. Much of that money was used to bolster his primary campaign. Wendell has spent just under $25,000.
Meanwhile, the DSCC is having serious trouble finding anyone plausible to work on Manchin's reelection campaign. I can't imagine why, but maybe it's because he's already talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare, normally only something Republicans ever talk about, at least openly.