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A Trump endorsement is powerful. But clearly not insurmountable.

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Tuesday’s Republican primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska were yet another test of former president Donald Trump’s power. The verdict: Trump is strong, but the GOP establishment can win if it’s smart.

Trump scored a big win in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District when his endorsed candidate, Rep. Alex Mooney, romped to victory over fellow Rep. David McKinley. Their two districts were thrown together after the state lost a congressional seat due to the 2020 Census. McKinley normally would have been rated as the favorite in the primary, since he represented roughly two-thirds of the new district’s population. But he had angered Trump by voting for a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and further dug his political grave by voting for the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The pork-barreling that McKinley engaged in to pass the legislation also once would have earned him kudos, but in today’s GOP, it exposed him to charges of helping President Biden’s big-spending agenda. Mooney, fueled by Trump’s endorsement and more than $1 million in ads from the Club for Growth Action, hammered McKinley relentlessly. McKinley was so out of step with........

© Washington Post

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