CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Alex Mooney, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from West Virginia’s 2nd district, can count on one sure vote – Lala Mooney, his mother.
“When I was in prison in Cuba, I never thought I would be voting for my son for Congress,” she said Wednesday after a get-out-the-vote rally in Charles Town that featured John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, and other GOP dignitaries.
Lala Mooney was born and raised in Fidel Castro’s communist Cuba. She and other members of her family were thrown into jail for seven weeks for opposing Castro’s communist regime, according to Mooney’s campaign website. When she was 21, Lala escaped Cuba and fled to America with barely a penny to her name, the website states.
“Alex Mooney is the real thing,” Boehner told the enthusiastic and partisan crowd at Paddy’s Irish Pub. “He will represent your views in Washington.”
He has known Mooney for 20 years, Boehner said. Mooney worked for a Congressional committee Boehner chaired.
Boehner was first elected to the House in 1990. He represents the 8th district in southwest Ohio. He was elected speaker in 2010, after serving as both majority leader and minority leader.
True to the event’s billing, the speakers urged the packed house to get out the vote and get their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers to vote.
“Elections are not based on polls,” Boehner said. “Elections are based on who shows up to vote. You can cast two votes that will be the loudest thing you can do to send the administration a message that you’ve had enough with their crazy policies. You can vote for Alex Mooney and Shelley Moore Capito.”
Currently representing the 2nd district in Congress, Capito is running for the U.S. Senate from West Virginia on the GOP ticket.
“My story is simple,” Mooney said. “I was raised to fight for our freedoms. I’m dedicated to fight for your values. I’m used to fighting liberals.”
Mooney, 43, who won the Republican primary with about 36 percent of the vote, beating out six other candidates, moved from his home in Maryland to Charles Town in February 2013. Shortly after the move, he announced his candidacy for the vacant 2nd district seat.
He was a Maryland state senator from that state’s third district, which includes parts of Washington and Frederick counties. He served three four-year terms. He was defeated in 2010.
He also served as chairman of the Maryland Republican Party from 2010 to 2012.
Mooney had filed to run in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District in 2012, but withdrew.
He has been tagged with the “carpetbagger” label by his opponents.
“We are proud to be West Virginians by choice,” Mooney said to the cheers of the crowd.
Mooney recognizes the polls have tightened in his race with Nick Casey, the Democrat candidate for the 2nd district seat.
“It’s a competitive race,” Mooney said after the rally. “It’s an open seat for the first time in 14 years. I still have the advantage in the polls. There’s still a lot of undecided voters.”
He has been calling every undecided voter he can find, Mooney said. He also is confident in his so-called ground game, enlisting supporters like those at the rally to get out the vote.
“The people can count on me to fight back against the Obama administration,” Mooney said. “It’s about the issues. We need to send a message that we don’t want a liberal agenda.”
Also appearing at the rally was U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises money for Republican candidates for Congress.
“Elections are decided by people who come out to vote,” Walden told the crowd. “You are the single most impactful players. There is nothing as powerful as you to get out the vote. Let’s wake up one week from today and know we did all we could.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also spoke at the rally, and he, too, urged everyone to vote.
“At the end of this rally, I want everyone to go knock on doors and make phone calls,” he said. “You could knock on 1,000 doors. Let’s see a show of hands of those who are going to knock on doors.”
A smattering of hands went up.
Don Forscht, of Gerrardstown, was enthused after the rally.
“It’s great to have (Boehner) here,” he said. “It’s neat to have the speaker here. Things are looking up, but we need to get the people out.”
Mason Carter of Harpers Ferry called the rally “awesome.” He is an unqualified supporter of Mooney.
“I support him because of his values – he’s conservative,” Carter said. “The country is headed in the wrong direction. We need him to represent us.”
The general election is Tuesday. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Early voting continues through Saturday.