Polls have closed in West Virginia, where former President Donald Trump is hoping to further demonstrate his power in GOP primaries Tuesday, the third round of nominating contests this year before the midterm elections in November.
Polls close at 9 p.m. ET in Nebraska, where Republican voters are selecting a nominee in a gubernatorial primary that Trump has also waded into.
The two contests Tuesday, unlike last week’s marquee Ohio Senate battle, have flown under the radar nationally, but come after vicious campaigns that have seen Trump-backed candidates use the former president’s endorsement as a shield against accusations of carpetbagging and sexual impropriety.
According to Trump’s political advisers, he has so far endorsed 168 Republicans across the country in local, state and federal races; 55 have won and none have lost, although many faced token opposition at best. Trump advisers openly acknowledge that at least one of his candidates will likely lose a contest in the coming weeks as the races get more competitive.
In West Virginia, two Republican members of Congress are competing against each other after the state lost one of its congressional seats in the redistricting process because of declining population.
Trump supported Rep. Alex Mooney while Rep. David McKinley had the backing of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice — a former Democrat who switched parties under Trump — and Sen. Joe Manchin, the moderate Democrat who took the unusual step of crossing party lines to endorse.
McKinley’s campaign labeled Mooney a carpetbagger (he served in the Maryland state Senate and was chairman of the Maryland GOP before moving to West Virginia to run for Congress in 2014) and called him a “political prostitute” (he has faced several ethics investigations).
Mooney in ads accused McKinley of being a “liberal,” “sellout,” and “known loser.” Trump attacked McKinley for supporting the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the creation of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, saying in a tele-rally last week that the congressman “betrayed Republican voters in West Virginia and the great people of West Virginia.”https://www.reddit.com/r/gallenvsterzivskiIive/
McKinley’s campaign noted that, according to vote tracking analysis by the data website FiveThirtyEight, McKinley voted with Trump 92 percent of the time while Mooney voted with him 86.7 percent of the time.