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Justice tops Mooney in West Virginia Senate primary

After backing Mooney in 2022 House race, Trump endorsed wealthy governor

President Donald Trump shakes hands with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice at an Aug. 3, 2017, rally in Huntington, W.V., where Justice announced he would switch parties from Democrat to Republican.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice at an Aug. 3, 2017, rally in Huntington, W.V., where Justice announced he would switch parties from Democrat to Republican. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Gov. Jim Justice, the GOP establishment’s pick for West Virginia’s open Senate seat, easily turned back Rep. Alex X. Mooney and three other opponents in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

Justice was leading with 61 percent of the vote at 8:15 p.m., when The Associated Press called the race.

Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott won the Democratic primary. Elliott had 46 percent when the race was called at 10:46 p.m. Progressive activist Zach Shrewsbury ran second, followed by former mining company CEO Don Blankenship.

Justice, who owns The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs and lists 17 assets on his personal financial disclosure form worth at least $50 million, is heavily favored to win the seat currently held by Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia’s sole remaining Democratic statewide officeholder.

Mooney, who is serving his fifth term in the House, won the 2022 primary in the 2nd District by defeating fellow Republican Rep. David B. McKinley after reapportionment cut the size of the state’s delegation from three seats to two. In that primary, Mooney had the backing of former President Donald Trump, but the presumptive GOP presidential nominee gave Justice his “Complete & Total Endorsement” in October.

In the 2nd District, which is open because Mooney opted for a Senate run, state Treasurer Riley Moore, the nephew of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, won the GOP nomination over four other Republicans. At 8:58 p.m., when The Associated Press called the race, Moore was leading with 46 percent of the vote.

He now faces Democratic nominee Steven Wendelin, who did not face a primary challenger. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican.

In the 1st District Republican primary, Rep. Carol Miller defeated Derrick Evans, who served three months in federal prison for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Miller had 65 percent of the vote and Evans had 35 percent when the race was called at 9:03.p.m.

While her nephew won the House primary, Sen. Capito’s son, Moore Capito, ran second in the race for the nomination for governor. He was about 5 points behind Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, when the race was called at 10:25 p.m.

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