Trump backs one GOP lawmaker over another in West Virginia primary

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE threw his support behind conservative Rep. Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier MooneyFour states to feature primaries with two incumbents in 2022 West Virginia lawmaker slams GOP colleague over support for infrastructure law McBath to run in neighboring district after GOP redrew lines MORE (R-W.Va.) in a member-on-member primary battle in a new West Virginia House district.

Mooney and Rep. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyFour states to feature primaries with two incumbents in 2022 West Virginia lawmaker slams GOP colleague over support for infrastructure law McBath to run in neighboring district after GOP redrew lines MORE (R-W.Va.) are being lumped together into the same congressional district in the new maps being implemented in the state. West Virginia saw its House delegation shrink from three to two as a result of the 2020 census, and the two lawmakers now find themselves competing for a newly drawn seat that combines territory from both of their current districts.

Mooney, a conservative in the House Freedom Caucus, is closely aligned with Trump’s brand of politics, making the former president's endorsement unsurprising.

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McKinley is more associated with the moderate branch of the GOP, an affiliation underscored by his recent vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law on Monday.

"Representative Alex Mooney has done an outstanding job as Congressman in West Virginia. In fact, he recently opposed the horrendous Biden Administration's ‘Non-Infrastructure’ plan, and he opposed the January 6th Committee, also known as the Unselect Committee of partisan hacks and degenerates," Trump said in a statement, also railing against the special House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

"Alex has been strong on Crime, Borders, our great Military, and a champion of our Veterans. He will always protect our Second Amendment, and of particular importance is the fact that Alex fights for energy and beautiful clean coal--and he will never stop. Congressman Alex Mooney has my Complete and Total Endorsement!" Trump added.

The support from the former president will likely buoy Mooney, who is running in a district that would have favored Trump by more than 20 points last year. 

“I am honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement,” Mooney said. “I am a proud America First conservative and will do whatever I can to carry on the President’s legacy of fighting for election integrity, defeating socialism, and supporting the Second Amendment in Congress. West Virginians are proud Trump Republicans, and I know the President’s endorsement ensures victory.”

Mooney enters the race with $2.5 million in the bank, compared with $630,000 for McKinley. However, McKinley has deeper ties to the state, with Mooney moving from Maryland in 2014 to run for a House seat.