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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 StrangeTrump: 'I could pick a woman,' and she could be accused of misconduct Ann Coulter believes Kushner wrote anonymous op-ed bashing Trump Mulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost 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) ManchinFive takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Blankenship endorses ex-W.Va. GOP Senate rival, calls him 'lying' drug lobbyist Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign 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