West Virginia state Del. Carol Miller won the Republican nomination for the open 3rd District on Tuesday night.
She took 24 percent of the vote in a seven-way GOP field and will face Democratic state Sen. Richard Ojeda in November. Her nearest challenger, fellow state Del. Rupie Phillips, had 20 percent.
Ojeda, elected to the state Senate in 2016, voted for President Donald Trump that year — as did 73 percent of the district. He previously ran for Congress in 2014, when he challenged former Rep. Nick J. Rahall II in the Democratic primary, but lost by 32 points.
Trump carried the 3rd District in the southern part of West Virginia by 49 points. But Democrats see it as their best pickup opportunity in the Mountain State because it’s an open seat. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added it to its target list early last year.
Miller was the beneficiary of the first independent expenditure from a new outside group dedicated to electing Republican women. The five-figure digital buy, which came the week before the primary likely wasn't a deciding factor in the race but it could encourage outside groups to take a more active role helping GOP women through primaries.
Democrats are also targeting GOP Rep. Alex X. Mooney, whom they love to attack as carpetbagger. He sits in a district Trump carried by 49 points in 2016.
Mooney ran uncontested in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Two Democrats faced off for the right to take on the former Maryland state senator and onetime chairman of the Maryland GOP, who moved to West Virginia to run for Congress in 2014 — and did so by just 3 points in a good year for Republicans.
Democrat Talley Sergent will meet Mooney in November after defeating Army veteran Aaron Scheinberg 62 percent to 38 percent.
Sergent is a former State Department official who worked for Coca-Cola. She grew up in Huntington and moved back to West Virginia in 2016, when she served as state director for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She now lives in Charleston and bills herself as a sixth-generation West Virginian.
Inside Elections rates the race Solid Republican.
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