Alexander Xavier “Alex” Mooney has represented West Virginia's 2nd congressional district since 2015.
Mooney received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Dartmouth College. While in school Mooney had his first experience with politics, unsuccessfully running for a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Upon graduation Mooney went to work for former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) before working as a staffer for the House Republican Conference.
In 1998, Mooney ran for a seat in the Maryland State Senate, defeating incumbent pro-abortion State Senate Minority Whip John Derr (R-MD) in a contentious primary battle. Mooney went on to serve in the State Senate for twelve years before being defeated himself by former Frederick mayor Ronald Young (D-MD). Mooney would go on to serve as the elected chairman of the Maryland Republican Party for slightly over two years.
In 2011, Mooney explored challenging Bartlett, his former boss, in the 2012 Republican primary. While he ultimately decided against it, Mooney instead filed his candidacy for the seat for the 2014 election cycle. Mooney was ultimately forced to drop that bid as well; working as Bartlett's part-time community outreach director at the time, Mooney’s candidacy would have been in violation of House ethics rules.
In 2013, Mooney and his family picked up and moved to Charles Town, West Virginia, into the district incumbent Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was vacating in her run for United States Senate. Labeled a carpetbagger, Mooney argued that the area he had represented in the Maryland Senate bordered West Virginia and was similar to the district he now sought. He also said he had fled Maryland and “came to West Virginia to live in freedom.” Mooney defeated the Democratic nominee in a close race that saw neither candidate capturing 50 percent of the vote. Mooney, a Cuban-America on his mother’s side, became the first ever Hispanic member of West Virginia’s congressional delegation.
Mooney came to Washington amid much excitement. A state legislator with a long history of fighting for conservative principles and values, Mooney vowed to fight the GOP establishment, beginning with a promise to vote against John Boehner (R-OH) for Speaker. Most impressively, Mooney was prepared to stand up to Speaker Boehner even after Boehner had campaigned in West Virginia for Mooney.
All of which made Mooney’s vote in favor of John Boehner for Speaker all the more crushing. Mooney said he had pledged to vote against the Speaker when a “reasonable opportunity” presenting itself, claiming that no such opportunity existed on the floor of the House in January, 2015. Yet not only were there viable alternative candidates who were also seeking the Speaker’s gavel, but even a mere vote of “present” would have been preferable to the alternative. Mooney fails to see it that way.
There’s no question that Mooney is a solid conservative. He’s even a proactive one – Mooney has brought the same fight to Congress that he displayed as a member of the Maryland State Senate, where he led battles on issues like gay marriage, religious liberty, and abortion. But Mooney’s betrayal on the 2015 Speaker vote raises a disturbing point. Conservatives aren’t going to win the war without a few bloody battles, many of which will be unpopular and will fly in the face of the establishment center. To win, conservatives will need all hands on deck, consequences be damned.
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