Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., said Tuesday that he will challenge Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in 2024, becoming the first serious candidate to jump into a potentially crowded Republican primary race.
"I'm announcing right now that I am officially running for the United States Senate for the seat that's open in two years that Joe Manchin currently is in, and I'm all in," Mooney told Hoppy Kercheval, the host of West Virginia MetroNews' "Talkline."
Just reelected to a fifth House term with 66% of the vote, Mooney said he is "not happy with the U.S. Senate results," referring to the Republicans' failure to wrest control of the chamber from the Democrats.
"Republicans need to take the West Virginia seat in two years for the sake of this country," he said.
Mooney described Manchin as "the chief enabler of Joe Biden" due to the senator's August vote for the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act, which set a minimum corporate tax, earmarked billions for climate change initiatives and lowered prescription drug costs.
"I think he's a liberal Democrat and West Virginia doesn't deserve that anymore and it has to be changed," Mooney said.
Manchin, 75, has not revealed if he will run for a fourth term in the Senate in two years.
Mooney may find himself in a primary contest with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who told The Hill last week that he's "looking very closely at the Senate race."
Morrisey would enter the race with a considerable war chest; he and his allies claim to be able to raise upward of $12 million for a statewide primary, which may have factored into Mooney's decision to announce his plans so early.
Mooney noted that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., similarly declared a run for Senate in November 2012 for the 2014 election.
Mooney also said he will support former President Donald Trump's campaign if Trump announces plans to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
"I'm very grateful to President Trump for endorsing me in my primary," Mooney said. "I do think West Virginia voters support him. He's a fighter."
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