Mooney first to officially file for primary election for U.S. Senate

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – The race for West Virginia’s open seat on the U.S. Senate has officially begun in earnest.

Today was the first day that candidates could submit paperwork to appear on the May primary ballot. Representative Alex Mooney (West Virginia’s second Congressional District) was the first to officially enter the senate race.

“As I approached my 10th year as a congressman for West Virginia, I thought it was time to take that conservative fighting spirit to the senate,” Mooney said.

Mooney has spent much of his campaign promoting his conservative credentials. According to press releases from his campaign, he positions himself as the “only true conservative” in the race. In Mooney’s eyes, Governor Jim Justice, who leads Mooney in recent polls, is a liberal who has stayed true to his Democratic roots.

“It’s a clear difference. Just because you’re a Republican doesn’t mean you’re a conservative. And West Virginians deserve not just any Republican, but an actual conservative who will fight for them,” Mooney said. “I’ve proven that in my ten years in Congress.”

If elected, Mooney has several priorities. His website says that he will protect gun rights, tackle the drug epidemic, and preserve the coal industry.

He has also picked up endorsements within West Virginia and beyond. He said that he has been endorsed by 31 delegates and eight state senators, as well as national leaders like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

His campaign focuses on protecting the traditional way of life that he believes southern West Virginians value.

“There are a lot of important issues. My mother fled a communist country, and I worry about the right to have conservative points of view and free speech in this country,” Mooney said. “I’m there to fight for all energy, coal, oil, and gas. And we need to have a fighter for that because the purse strings are being used to can be used to defend our industries.”

So far, no other candidate has officially submitted their paperwork. However, Governor Jim Justice will almost certainly file in the coming days, setting up a high-profile showdown this May.

Other candidates could potentially file as well.

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