Mooney holds financial advantage over McKinley

Gun Rights

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney maintains his cash advantage over Rep. David McKinley in the Republican primary for West Virginia’s new 2nd Congressional District.

Each candidate filed quarterly financial reports with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, less than a month before the state’s primary election. The Mooney for Congress campaign reported $1.4 million on hand compared to the McKinley for Congress’ $1 million. Mooney ended last year with a $2.4 million reserve compared to McKinley with $1.6 million.

U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va. (File)

The latest reports detail contributions and expenditures from Jan. 1 through March 31.

The Mooney campaign brought in $464,766 during the recent quarter. The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund made a $1,000 contribution on Feb. 22. The Procter & Gamble Co., which operates a manufacturing facility in Berkeley County, contributed $3,500. Campaigns for Republican Reps. Bob Good of Virginia and Ron Estes of Kansas each donated $2,000.

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McKinley raised more than Mooney —$481,805 — during the three months. Gov. Jim Justice and first lady Cathy Justice donated $2,900 each to the campaign, the maximum amount an individual can contribute to a candidate. The governor endorsed McKinley in February, describing the six-term congressman as “a fighter for the people of West Virginia.”

Brian Abraham, the governor’s chief of staff, contributed $250 to McKinley, and Bray Cary, Justice’s former senior advisor, donated $1,000. Marshall University Board of Governors President Patrick Farrell — who additionally serves as president of Service Pump and Supply — contributed $1,000, as did Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce contributed $2,500 to McKinley through its campaign arm during the quarter. PACs for Dominion Energy Inc. and Dow Inc. donated $3,500 and $1,000 respectively in the period, and West Virginians for Coal — the West Virginia Coal Association’s PAC — contributed $250 to the McKinley campaign.

The Mooney campaign spent $1,441,135 during the recent quarter. The payments included $66,979 to the Wiley Rein LLP law firm and $5,428 to Chalmers & Adams LLC, a political law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Pittsburgh. Payments to Wiley Rein are related to a congressional inquiry into the Mooney campaign and non-political expenditures. The House Office of Congressional Ethics issued a report last fall detailing Mooney’s failure to properly report more than $40,000 in campaign funds spent on fast food and personal travel.

“Rep. Mooney’s campaign committees reported campaign disbursements that may not be legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes,” the office’s board stated.

“If Rep. Mooney converted campaign funds from his campaign committees to personal use, or if Rep. Mooney’s campaign committees expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Rep. Mooney may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”

A Mooney spokesperson told MetroNews the payments to Chalmers & Adams are not related to the inquiry, but rather standard campaign reasons.

The McKinley campaign spent around $1 million over the three months. The campaign also has $815,000 in debt and owed obligations dating back to McKinley’s 2010 campaign; McKinley made a personal loan of $500,000 in December.

U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. (File)

The West Virginia Legislature approved a new two-district congressional map during last year’s redistricting efforts. The new 2nd Congressional District includes West Virginia’s panhandles and northern counties. McKinley is a Wheeling native, and Mooney has lived in Charles Town since moving from Maryland in early 2013.

The McKinley-Mooney contest is one of five races nationwide involving two congressional incumbents in the same district.

McKinley has attacked Mooney as a political opportunist who moved to West Virginia to pursue an open congressional seat in the 2014 election. He has also slammed his current colleague for the ongoing ethics investigation.

Mooney has defended his voting record as one based on conservative principles, criticizing McKinley for supporting last year’s infrastructure law and backing a committee to investigate the January 2021 U.S. Capitol attack. McKinley and 12 other House Republicans voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, in which West Virginia is slated to receive billions of dollars for road improvements, broadband internet expansion and utility system upgrades. McKinley opposes the current House Select Committee investigating the riot, in which lawmakers are looking into actions related to Donald Trump supporters attempting to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

As for Trump, he has cited both votes as reasons for endorsing Mooney.

“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 degenerate,” Trump said in November.

“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!”

West Virginians have until Tuesday to register to vote in the primary election. The early voting period will begin April 27.

Election Day is May 10.

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