According to a report from Politico's Ally Mutnik, a vote by a House Republican for a massive infrastructure bill sought by President Joe Biden last year is having reverberations as the lawmaker who sided with the Democrats vies for the nomination in a consolidated district with a GOP colleague who voted against it.
As the report notes, Reps. David McKinley and Alex Mooney are facing off against each other after West Virginia lost a seat due to redistricting. The infrastructure vote has taken center stage in a battle of accusations and finger-pointing.
According to Mutnik, McKinley was delivered an ultimatum over his vote by an aide to Donald Trump, telling him to vote against it or face the now-former president's wrath.
However, McKinley, a civil engineer, admitted he had been waiting for eleven years for just such a bill to help out his district and sided with the Democrats, thereby handing Mooney a talking point as the two battle for the one seat.
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"Their clash has turned into one of the most hard-fought Republican primaries of the midterms, testing everything from Trump’s influence and the potency of ideological purity to small government to whether a GOP congressman can sell his primary voters on the merits of a bipartisan compromise in a hyper-polarized climate," the Politico report states, with Mooney complaining, "I’m willing to fight for conservatism. I think he enables and cooperates with the Democrats’ liberal agenda. He’s caving in. He’s selling out. He’s doing their bidding.”
That, in turn, led McKinley, a seventh-generation native of the area to call out his opponent who is a transplant from Maryland, saying, "I don’t know the conditions of the roads and bridges in Maryland, but I do know what the conditions are in West Virginia."
Continuing in that vein, McKinley called his primary opponent a "'political prostitute' because he’s run for office in three states. 'If he tried to name the starting lineup on our football team, I don’t think he could do it,' he said," Politico is reporting.
As for how the primary may play out, Politico's Mutnik reported, "Sparse polling has shown mixed results. A pro-McKinley group released a survey last month showing him leading Mooney by 5 points. An internal Mooney poll from early April found him leading by 11 points, a margin similar to surveys conducted in January and February."
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