West Virginia’s Second Congressional District is one of the fastest-trending Republican areas in the country. President Obama lost every county in the district, most of them by a substantial margin. With moderate Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) vacating the seat to run for the U.S. Senate, conservatives have a prime opportunity to move this seat to the right. Unfortunately, the race to succeed her is full of liberal and lackluster candidates. Enter Alex Mooney into the picture, and West Virginia Republicans are presented with a bold contrast and the opportunity to grow a conservative bench within the state.
Alex Mooney entered politics in Maryland as an anti-establishment, grassroots conservative and he remains one today, fighting for West Virginia conservatives. In 1998, he challenged the pro-abortion Senate Minority Whip in a primary. Mooney crushed him 63%-37%, and represented the Fredrick-based district in Maryland for 12 years. During his tenure as a lonely conservative in an increasingly Democrat state, Mooney pushed his party to actually confront the majority instead of acquiescing to them. He was one of only three Republicans to vote against liberal Mike Miller to be President of the Maryland Senate.
Most importantly, he was a fighter. Mooney fought the liberals in both parties on taxes, spending, gun control, abortion, special rights for homosexuals, and nanny-state restrictions. He led filibusters against gun control and anti-religious-liberty bills, forcing Democrats to remove him from the Judicial Proceedings Committee.
His effective voice against the Democrats, in conjunction with changing demographics in his district, made him a prime target for liberals. In 2010, Mike Miller and the Democrats pumped in loads of money to his opponent in order to defeat him. Despite the fact that Obama carried his district by 10 points, Mooney stood and fought. He has always been an assiduous campaigner who fights for every vote, but he came up short by just two points.
Mooney made plans to run for Congress in western Maryland two years later, but Democrats egregiously spliced up this conservative district making it nearly impossible to win. Fed up with the incorrigible oligarchy in Maryland, Mooney joined many of his fellow Maryland conservatives in seeking shelter in the West Virginia panhandle, a 15-mile drive from Fredrick.
One would expect a staunchly pro-life district that opposed Obama by a 22-point margin to have a strong bench of conservatives. But all of the major candidates are liberal Republicans. Former state Delegate Charlotte Lane is pro-abortion and in favor of gun control. Ken Reed just became a Republican but is still pro-choice. And Ron Walters has received a boatload of money from trial lawyers. Fearing this conservative open seat would fall to a Rockefeller Republican, Mooney stepped up to the plate to give voice to West Virginia conservatives with the years’ of experience he has fighting liberals in both parties. Just as Alex’s mother was a refugee of Castro’s Cuba; Alex became a conservative refugee from Maryland.
Alex has run an indefatigable campaign and has united local Tea Party activists against the establishment Republicans in the state and in Washington. After giving conservatives an opportunity to support a pro-life conservative in a GOP primary 16 years ago, Alex has come full circle and is once again providing bold conservative principles in a race full of pro-choice moderates.
West Virginia is on the precipice of transforming into a solid Republican state. However, the Republican bench is still quite small, and the conservative bench is even smaller. We can either establish a GOP presence built upon Reagan conservative principles or we can squander the opportunity and let it fall in the hands of the status quo moderate Republicans. Alex Mooney is leading the way down the Reagan path. Let’s help him blaze that trail in the May 13th primary.