Alex Mooney won the Republican nomination with ease Tuesday in West Virginia's open 2nd Congressional District, in what could be called a triumph for conservatives of all stripes.
Mooney, a onetime Maryland state senator and GOP state chairman, rolled up 36 percent of the vote to 22 percent for millionaire pharmacist Ken Reed, 18 percent for former state Delegate Charlotte Lane, and the remainder for four others.
"I won because I ran as the conservative I am," Mooney, 42, told Newsmax shortly after he was declared the winner. "And that's what the voters said they wanted — a conservative who is a fighter for the causes of cutting spending, safeguarding the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to life."
Mooney said he was the lone Republican in the race who was pro-life and who signed the no-tax pledge of Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.
Although much of the national media characterized Mooney's win as a victory for the tea party, the lifelong conservative activist actually had an entire cross-section of the conservative movement working for him.
This made Mooney's win for the nomination to succeed Rep. Shelley Moore Capito intriguing, given the splits among different kinds of conservatives and their national organizations in most contested primaries. Capito is stepping down to run for the open Senate seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
Along with the Republican Liberty Caucus and libertarian icon Ron Paul, Mooney was strongly backed by pro-Second Amendment groups like the Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights, as well as the Tea Party Express and cultural conservatives such as the Family Research Council's political action committee, the Eagle Forum, and Gary Bauer's Campaign for Working Families.
Several fathers of the modern conservative movement, including direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie, weighed in for Mooney. So did newer faces on the right, such as Dave Bossie of Citizens United, and the pro-home-school Madison Project.
Some of Mooney's opponents attacked him for "parachuting" into the district, having lived in Maryland until he and his wife and two children settled in West Virginia in 2013. Mooney countered that he came to the state with no political ambitions and decided to run only after several other conservatives decided not to make the race.
Other West Virginia political sources said the issue of residency may not be the issue in the Mountain State that it is elsewhere. They noted that popular Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey moved to the state to practice law only five years before he won its top legal office in 2012.
Sensing a possible capture of Capito's open House seat, state and national Democrats rallied behind former state Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey as their candidate. But against a little-known and underfinanced opponent, state Delegate Meshea Poore, Casey managed an unimpressive 60 percent of the vote.
"Obviously some in his own party weren't happy with [Casey]," Mooney told Newsmax. "But I'm perfectly happy to run against him. He's a big Obamacare supporter and doesn't support gun rights."
Mooney also left little doubt he would not trim his conservative sails for the general election. He said: "I'm running as the true conservative and as a lifelong fighter for conservative values."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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