West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney, who made Trump’s endorsement the centerpiece of his campaign in the first incumbent vs. incumbent primary of the year, will win the GOP nomination for the state’s 2nd Congressional District, CNN projects. But Nebraska Republican Jim Pillen, a hog farmer and University of Nebraska Board of Regents member who ran with the support of term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts, will defeat a Trump-backed candidate for the state’s GOP gubernatorial nod, CNN projects.
Mooney, a former Maryland state senator, had faced six-term Rep. David McKinley after the Mountain State lost a district in the post-census reapportionment process.
Speaking on Tuesday night, Mooney touted the importance of the former President’s endorsement and said he might have to interrupt his victory speech at any moment to take a call from Trump.
Mooney teased a potential bid for US Senate against Manchin, who’s facing reelection in 2024. “This is the second time Joe Manchin has done a TV ad attacking me. I’m 2-for-0 against him. Maybe I should make it 3-and-0,” he said to cheers.
Mooney, who was first elected to the House in 2014, had attacked McKinley as “a liberal” for supporting that bipartisan legislation, but there was no subtlety in his ads as he touted the former President’s endorsement.
Mooney described his victory on Tuesday as a win against Pelosi and government officials who he said had overreached with mask and Covid-19 protocols.
Besides Manchin, who had praised McKinley for opposing “reckless spending” that could harm the people of his state, the congressman had the backing of Republican Gov. Jim Justice, a former Democrat who switched his party registration to the GOP in 2017.
McKinley had attacked Mooney as a newcomer to the state who did not grasp the depth of its concerns, drawing attention to the fact that Mooney had moved to the state in the last decade from Maryland, where he had chaired the state GOP.
“Alex Mooney has proven he’s all about Alex Mooney. But West Virginians know David McKinley is all about us,” Manchin said in the ad.
Nebraska governor’s race
Heading into Tuesday, Trump’s candidate had been in a tight three-way race against Pillen and state Sen. Brett Lindstrom.
As part of his defense, Herbster claimed that his opponents were using the same playbook that they used against Trump in the 2016 campaign and then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Both men were accused of sexual assault — allegations they denied.
This story has been updated with additional information.