Former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney has moved to West Virginia and is considering a run for the open 2nd District, according to a high-ranking state party official.
West Virginia GOP National Committeeman Kris Warner confirmed to CQ Roll Call that Mooney had his eye is on the seat held by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who is running for Senate in 2014.
"That was something he was considering doing right now," Warner said, confirming a Friday report in Red Maryland, a conservative blog. "He told me he had purchased property in West Virginia."
Warner described Friday evening conversations at a party reception in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The state GOP's executive committee held a meeting over the weekend in the eastern West Virginia town not far from the Maryland border.Another West Virginia Republican source said he had secondhand knowledge of conversations Mooney had on the matter with other state Republicans. Mooney did not respond to calls or emails seeking comment.
Mooney resigned from the Maryland GOP in February after 12 years in state politics, citing his desire to "pursue other ventures" in a letter published by the Washington Post.
Mooney seriously considered running for Congress in 2011. At the time, state Republicans were unsure if Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., would seek re-election in his western Maryland district, which was dramatically redrawn to be a Democratic seat. Mooney, a former Bartlett staffer, opted against challenging his old boss.
By comparison, Capito's district presents a better opportunity for Republicans. The congresswoman cruised to re-election in recent cycles, but even she expressed concern in an early February interview about her party's ability to hold the seat she is vacating to run for Senate.
Other GOP names that are often mentioned as serious contenders for her seat include state Delegate Eric Nelson, attorney Charles Trump and former state Secretary of State Betty Ireland.