WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS – No matter who wins West Virginia’s 1st or 2nd Congressional District races, Nancy Pelosi won’t be getting their vote for Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The former Democrat House Speaker served recurring punching bag during an hour-long candidate forum at the state Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Business Summit Friday at The Greenbrier.
Both Democrats and Republicans running in the two races all made clear they do not want to see Pelosi, D-Calif., regain her status as speaker.
When asked who he’d like to see as House speaker, incumbent 1st District Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., bluntly said, “Not Nancy Pelosi.”
His Democrat challenger, state Auditor Glen Gainer, concurred.
“David, you and I agree on one thing, I wouldn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi either,” Gainer said.
In the 2nd District race, Democrat Nick Casey, former head of the state party, said that while his opponent has tried to portray him as a surrogate of President Barack Obama, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that was not true.
“I cannot support and will not support Nancy Pelosi,” Casey said.
Mooney portrayed himself as a defender of conservative principles and freedom. He vowed, if elected, to work to repeal the Affordable Care Act and block Obama administration efforts to regulate greenhouse gases.
“I am the only candidate in this race who will fight against Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi,” Mooney said.
Gainer touted his accomplishments during his more than two-decade service as Auditor.
“I’ve tried to make sure West Virginia is a good business partner,” he said.
He noted that when he came to office the state wasn’t paying its bills on time and was in the red. He noted through reforms like the state’s purchasing card program and online transparency initiatives, the state is accountable and paying its bills online and in an efficient manner.
He touted his ability to work with Republican former Gov. Cecil Underwood and vowed to bring that same spirit of bipartisan cooperation if elected to Congress.
While he wouldn’t support Pelosi, Gainer did say he might consider supporting House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., because he is more in line with his beliefs.
McKinley said he’s worked to change the tone in Washington since he was first elected in 2010.
He said Congress is gridlocked because members of both parties refuse to talk to one another, and said representatives need to do more to bridge that gap.
McKinley pledged to continue supporting efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and fight back against increasing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
When asked if he would support House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for another term, McKinley said he could support him but left the door open to consider other candidates.
“I’m interested in someone who cares about West Virginia... how they relate to rural America,” he said.
In the 2nd District race, Casey also said he wants to see members of both parties working together to foster solutions instead of standing at constant loggerheads and shutting down government.
“I’m running for one basic reason: Congress is absolutely broken,” Casey said. “Congress has made itself impotent.”
Mooney, a former Maryland state lawmaker, said he was proud to be a West Virginian by choice because the state more represents his conservative values.
He said said he had never vote for a tax increased and called it “immoral” to pass on the large national debt to the next generation. He proposed cutting spending to get the nation’s financial house in order.
“If you want higher taxes on businesses or families, vote for someone else,” Mooney said.
Mooney wouldn’t commit to who he would vote for House speaker, should he get elected. He simply said he would vote for the candidate that promises to fight against the Obama administration’s regulatory and health care policies.
“I’ll vote for whoever’s going to fight back against Obama and his war on coal,” he said.
The state Chamber of Commerce has yet to make an endorsement in either race.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4836.