Two West Virginia Republicans are still having a bitter feud over Biden’s infrastructure package: report

Two West Virginia Republicans are still having a bitter feud over Biden’s infrastructure package: report

When President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill into law in November 2021, the U.S. senators who were applauding ranged from centrist Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema to conservative Ohio Republican Rob Portman. Sinema and Portman hailed the bill as an example of bipartisan cooperation. But in the U.S. House of Representatives, far-right MAGA Republican and QAnon extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene slammed the bill’s GOP supporters as “traitors” — and according to Politico reporter Ally Mutnick, U.S. House Republicans David McKinley and Alex Mooney are still having a bitter feud over the bill five months later.

McKinley voted for the infrastructure bill; Mooney, a Donald Trump loyalist who formerly served in the Maryland State Senate, opposed it. Intensifying the animosity between the two West Virginia congressmen is the fact that they are now competing for the GOP nomination in a congressional primary. Presently, McKinley and Money are in separate U.S. House districts in West Virginia, but because of redistricting, they are now competing in the same district in the 2022 midterms.

“On the eve of the House vote to pass a massive infrastructure bill last year, Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) received a pointed call from a Donald Trump adviser: If he voted for the package, the former president would endorse his primary opponent,” Mutnick explains. “But McKinley, a civil engineer by trade, had been waiting 11 years for this moment. He couldn’t be persuaded, setting into motion a contentious primary that is bound to break a big rule of politics no matter who wins on May 10.”

Mutnick continues, “Either McKinley loses after bringing home a major federal investment in crumbling local infrastructure, or he manages the rare feat of knocking off a Trump-endorsed candidate in a Republican primary — in this case, fellow GOP Rep. Alex Mooney, who was drawn into the same district as McKinley after West Virginia lost one of its three seats in redistricting.”

Mooney is running on a buffoonish far-right platform that is not uncommon among Trumpistas: bragging that he is the more MAGA candidate and claiming that the other is a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

“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,” Mutnick reports.

During an interview with Politico, McKinley wouldn’t say who the Trump adviser he spoke to before the infrastructure bill vote was, but he recalled what he told that person.

According to McKinley, he described West Virginia’s infrastructure and told the adviser, “We have the worst conditions. Some of the roads and bridges are 50, 70 years old. We have water lines built in 1880. I can’t do this. This is not a time to play politics. I’m voting for West Virginia.”

Mooney claimed that by voting for the bill, McKinley was “selling out” and enabling “the Democrats’ liberal agenda.”

Mutnick observes, “The ads have been negative from the start, with McKinley slamming Mooney as an interloper from Maryland under investigation from the House Ethics Committee for potential improper use of campaign money. Mooney has shot back, calling his opponent a RINO who voted for a bipartisan committee to investigate the January 6 attacks.”

Both of West Virginia’s senators, Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Shelly Moore Capito, voted for the infrastructure bill.

Capito told Politico, “I’ve supported the infrastructure package, and I’m glad that Congressman McKinley did as well. There’s a lot of pluses to it, and for me, the pluses outweigh the minuses.”

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