Mooney, Manchin React to Justice Senate Bid
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s bid for the U.S. Senate will pit him against fellow challenger and current U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney in the Republican primary.
Mooney discussed his rival’s entry Thursday afternoon with WSAZ NewsChannel 3′s Curtis Johnson.
“What’s your reaction to Governor Justice entering the race?,” Johnson asked.
“It’s an open process,” he replied. “The tradition in this country, the voters make that decision who they want to be the Republican nominee and the Democratic nominee, and eventually their elected official. So I look forward to contrasting our views and positions on actual issues.”
Whoever wins could potentially face incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in the 2024 general election. Manchin was unavailable Thusday, however he tweeted this statement.
“I am laser focused on doing the job West Virginians elected me to do -- lowering healthcare costs, protecting Social Security and Medicare, shoring up American energy security and getting our fiscal house in order,” the tweet read. “But make no mistake, I will win any race I enter.”
In the Republican primary, Johnson asked if Sen. Mooney would be different than a Sen. Justice.
“So unlike Jim, Justice, I’ve opposed Joe Biden’s reckless spending agenda,” Mooney replied. “For example, the $1.3 trillion, non-infrastructure package that was passed last year, I voted against that. Jim Justice actually came after me and criticized me for opposing that spending bill.”
“Justice has tremendous name ID, do enough voters know you to counter that?” Johnson asked.
“Sure,” Mooney replied. “He starts off with a certainly higher name ID than I do. I’m a congressman for half the state, right now. I represented another approximately 300,000 voters for eight years, including Kanawha County. So I think as my name ID increases throughout this campaign over the next year, I will overtake him in the polls.”
Last week, Justice attacked Mooney for his ties to Maryland -- claiming not only did Mooney spend significant time in the neighboring state before entering Congress, but that Mooney hasn’t visited West Virginia enough.
“First of all, do you live in West Virginia,” Johnson asked. “And secondly, how do you respond -- and will you respond -- to those attacks?”
“So I’m proud to be in West Virginia and by choice,” Mooney replied. “My wife and I are raising three children here in West Virginia. I live in Jefferson County. Actually, my youngest daughter was born in Charleston, in Kanawha County, and the voters of the state have elected me five times now. I serve as a West Virginia congressman. So when those really personal attacks come along, I think that’s a distraction from the issues.”
The governor’s entry into the race captured national attention.
No matter who wins the GOP nomination, a race against Manchin is expected to be a marquee contest with outside groups spending a lot of money to get your vote.
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