AP

GOP Reps Miller, Mooney soar to reelection in West Virginia

Nov 8, 2022, 4:04 AM | Updated: 6:24 pm

FILE - U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., is pictured on Feb. 5, 2020, during a subcommittee meeting ...

FILE - U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., is pictured on Feb. 5, 2020, during a subcommittee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. Miller is the Republican nominee seeks West Virginia's 1st Congressional District seat. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two sitting Republican U.S. representatives in West Virginia have easily overcome challengers to keep their seats in the deep red state’s shrinking congressional delegation.

U.S. Reps. Alex Mooney and Carol Miller defeated lesser-known Democratic and Independent candidates on Tuesday in a state controlled by Republicans at every level of government. West Virginia hasn’t elected a Democrat to the House since 2012, and was one of only two states where former President Donald Trump won every county in 2016 and in 2020.

In a closely watched May primary race, Trump-endorsed Mooney beat veteran lawmaker Republican Rep. David McKinley to become the GOP nominee for the 2nd Congressional District. The incumbents were pitted against each other after population losses cost West Virginia a U.S. House seat. McKinley faced criticism for breaking with his party to support President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

Miller, another Trump ally, easily breezed to the Republican nomination in West Virginia’s 1st District in May, defeating four little-known candidates. Miller has represented West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District — which was eliminated in redistricting — since 2018.

In Tuesday’s race, Mooney faced former Morgantown city councilor Democrat Barry Wendell. The two candidates are both Maryland transplants — but that’s where the similarities ended.

Wendell is an openly gay Jewish man who supports access to abortion and investing in clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels.

Mooney, who has represented West Virginia in Congress since 2015, is a member of the most conservative voting bloc in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is adamantly opposed to abortion and policies that would hamper West Virginia’s coal industry. He has said he believes marriage is between “a man and a woman.”

Miller faced challenges from Democrat Lacy Watson and Independent Belinda Fox-Spencer. Watson is a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech. Fox-Spencer, who filed to run after the primary, is a small business owner. She worked in health care for 20 years as a diagnostic medical sonographer, specializing in women’s health.

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