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Trump-backed Mooney, Miller win West Virginia's GOP primary

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Trump-backed Mooney, Miller win West Virginia's GOP primary
Rep. Alex Mooney won the Republican West Virginia primary Tuesday after being endorsed by former President Donald Trump. File Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

May 11 (UPI) -- Reps. Alex Mooney and Carol Miller of West Virginia and Adrian Smith of Nebraska were projected to win their states' primaries Tuesday night after being endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

The primaries Tuesday saw four candidates in the two states receive Trump's approval with Mooney, Miller and Smith nabbing their party's nomination for November's elections.

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Mooney defeated incumbent Rep. David McKinley to represent the Republican party in the West Virginia's 2nd Congressional District race in what was the most watched races Tuesday night.

Mooney had received Trump's endorsement in November after voting against President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan as well as against the creation of a House select committee to investigate the causes of the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol building.

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McKinley was also among the handful of Republicans to cross the aisle to vote in favor of Biden's infrastructure bill, which attracted the wrath of Trump who called him a RINO, meaning a Republican in name only, and vowed to endorse anyone who would challenge him.

The pair were vying for the same seat after the state lost one in the House due to a contracting population in the state.

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With 100% of counties reporting, Mooney received 44,806 votes for 54.21% of ballots cast to McKinley's 29,442, according to state data.

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"Tonight is a monumental night for West Virginians & I look forward to being their trusted conservative voice in Congress," he tweeted late Tuesday.

Incumbent Miller won her race for the 1st Congressional District of West Virginia in a landslide, beating challenger Scott Fuller by thousands of votes.

Trump had endorsed her last month.

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"I'm honored to be the GOP candidate in the 1st District," she tweeted early Wednesday. "I'll continue to support WV small businesses and energy industries, bring new investment to our state & combat Democrats' radical agenda."

Ronna McDaniel, GOP chairwoman, said the primary turnout in the state was higher than in 2018.

In Nebraska, Rep. Adrian Smith breezed through Tuesday's primary, besting Mike Calhoun 81,558 votes to 25,464, according to results posted by the Lincoln Journal Star.

Smith was endorsed by Trump early this month.

Of the four candidates picked by Trump, only Charles Herbster, who sought the Nebraska governorship, failed to win.

Jim Pillen bested Herbster 75,071 votes to 65,588, according to the local paper, and will take on Carol Blood of the Democrats for the state's highest seat come November.

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Herbster, who has been accused by eight women of sexually misconduct, had secured Trumps' endorsement back in October.

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