Rep. David McKinley is trying to convince primary voters in West Virginia's 2nd Congressional District he's the real Donald Trump-type Republican, even though the former president endorsed his rival.

McKinley is set to face off Tuesday against Rep. Alex Mooney, a fellow West Virginia GOP House member with whom he is vying for the same seat, since the state is losing one of its three districts due to population decline.

In the final days before the primary, McKinley's campaign is texting voters a video of the former president praising him.

The race between McKinley and Mooney, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, has been bitterly fought. Both candidates launched fierce attacks against one another in the newly configured 2nd Congressional District, stretching across West Virginia's northern tier from the Ohio state line to Washington, D.C., exurbs in the eastern panhandle.

McKinley, whom Mooney and Trump have accused of being a Republican in name only, released an ad on Wednesday titled "He's A Fraud," in which he takes aim at his opponent’s voting record and highlights an ethics investigation into alleged misuse of campaign funds.

“Mooney's desperate and with no answers for why he's potentially facing prison time. Mooney and his Washington special interest group are spending millions lying about David McKinley, just like they did about Trump,” the voice in the 30-second ad says.


“Don Jr. called the group backing Mooney RINO frauds because Mooney opposed Trump's wall four times, opposed Trump's plan to ban fentanyl from China, and opposed Trump's plan for veterans. Alex Mooney, he's a fraud. Don't be fooled.”

In the days leading up to May 10, the West Virginia Republican has also been sending a 15-second clip to voters asserting he voted with Trump more than Mooney, followed by a video of Trump saying, “We like David, right? I like David.”

While McKinley is looking to tie himself to the former president, who won the state in 2020 with 68.6% of the vote, Trump has taken aim at the congressman repeatedly for his vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and support of the 9/11-style independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

On Tuesday, Trump headlined a telerally for Mooney, at which he accused McKinley of supporting the Green New Deal, an accusation he has vehemently denied.

“Alex is an America First warrior, a House of Representatives person that I call, and he's always been there for me, and he's always been there for your energy and your clean coal. I call it clean coal because so much incredible progress has been made really on coal, but the radical Left wants to destroy it,” Trump said on the call. “In the primary, he's running against David McKinley, a RINO who supported the fake infrastructure bill that wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on the Green New Deal, which is a hoax, but he, McKinley, was in there fighting for it, and that's against the interests of West Virginia.”

While McKinley slammed Mooney in ads accusing him of failing to support building a border wall due to his votes on certain government funding bills, Mooney made a similar accusation about his opponent during the telerally, alleging his support for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, legislation aimed at creating a program that would allow undocumented farmworkers to earn legal status, was a vote for amnesty.


“This is just a fact. It's not a personal attack. It's a fact that my opponent David McKinley supports amnesty for illegal aliens and voted for it,” the West Virginia Republican said.

Mooney is also slated to appear at a rally in Pennsylvania in support of Mehmet Oz’s Senate bid alongside the former commander in chief on Friday evening in a further effort to align himself with Trump.

While Mooney secured the Trump endorsement, McKinley has been backed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

A poll commissioned by MetroNews West Virginia released on Friday morning shows Mooney with a 15-point lead.