WHEELING, W.Va. — Rep. David McKinley easily won a third term representing northern West Virginia in the House of Representatives, soundly beating his Democrat challenger, state Auditor Glen Gainer, in Tuesday’s election.
After all the votes were counted, McKinley, R-W.Va., led with 91,941 votes to Gainer’s 51,755, according to unofficial totals.
McKinley said he was flattered to receive the support of voters in the 1st District once again, and with Republicans picking up seats both at the federal and state level Tuesday night – including all three House seats in West Virginia – he believes the nation is on the verge of a “renewal.”
“If nothing else, this is a long overdue referendum on the Obama administration. I think its the same thing in Charleston. I think they’re tired of being last,” McKinley said. “We’ve had a president that has tried to avoid using Congress and has gone around Congress. I think starting tonight, you’re going to see a change. …
“This is historic. This is really historic,” he continued. “I can’t find a time we ever had all three house seats be Republicans.”
A Wheeling resident, McKinley represented Ohio County in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1981-94, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1996 and served as chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party from 1990-94.
As a member of Congress, McKinley has been an outspoken opponent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its emissions regulations that he says are threatening the state’s economy. He said he will continue to defend the coal industry as he has throughout his first four years in Washington.
“You can see what’s happened with it. There’s tough competition coming from gas, but when you have an administration that clearly has a war on coal … all they’re going to do is further erode our economic development,” McKinley said.
Other issues of importance to McKinley over the next two years, he said, include controlling spending, taking care of the area’s senior citizens and righting what he believes is a wrong in Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act – which McKinley has voted to repeal.
“It needs to be changed. We can’t keep the health care plan the way it is right now,” he said.
McKinley said the communication between Republicans and Democrats in Congress must improve – as must the communication between Charleston and Washington.
“You’ve got to do it by talking to each other. … When I talked to my opponent earlier this evening, I told him I want his help,” McKinley said.