Mercers, Bannon wade into West Virginia Senate race

Mercers, Bannon wade into West Virginia Senate race
© Greg Nash
GOP Senate candidates in West Virginia are vying for the support of former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and GOP mega-donors Robert, Diana and Rebekah Mercer.
 
McClatchy reported on Thursday that all three Mercers sent Rep. Evan Jenkins's (R-W.Va.) Senate campaign $5,200 each, the maximum allowable donation under campaign finance laws.
 
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Those donations raised eyebrows because Bannon has recently come out in support of West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Jenkin's primary opponent.
 
A source close to Bannon told The Hill that the Mercers' donations came before Bannon got involved in West Virginia and that the donors are backing Morrisey.
 
The Mercers, who keep a relatively low profile, are one of the top donors supporting more conservative and insurgent-minded GOP candidates. Their backing, as well as support from Bannon, is a major storyline in the upcoming midterm campaign cycle.
 
Bannon and his allies are focusing on West Virginia and races in other states after campaigning for former judge Roy Moore's successful GOP Senate primary runoff bid in Alabama last week over incumbent Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeRoy Moore Facebook page shares provocative memes on NFL anthem protests Poll: Moore has lead, Dems see opportunity in Ala. Senate race GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (R-Ala.).
 
In West Virginia, Morrisey and Jenkins have locked horns in what's already become one of the more contentious GOP primaries of the cycle as they battle to take on Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: EPA aims to work more closely with industry Overnight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (D-W.Va.) in a state President Trump won by 42 points in 2016. 
 
– This story was updated at 12:22 a.m. with additional information