MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va. Second District Republican Congressman and candidate for the U.S. Senate, Alex Mooney took a tour of north-central West Virginia this week, talking about closing the gap between him and the frontrunner in the May primary, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

Mooney made a variety of stops including Aurora Flight Sciences at the North Central West Virginia Airport and the Federal Bureau of Investigation office building in Clarksburg.

Despite a deal being reached to keep the federal government funded through September, the text of the bill to be voted on by Friday is not yet complete. Lawmakers are working on six bills referred to as the “minibus” that will fund Congress, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Mooney said border security will be a top priority leading up to the deadline to pass the legislation and fund the government on Friday.

“We need to secure that border! They want to pass all this spending and do everything to secure the border of the United States of America, which is being invaded,” Mooney said. “So, I think the Republicans in the House need to absolutely insist on border security in any bill we pass.”

Mooney said Governor Justice has supported spending by the Biden administration that has caused inflation to spike. Near the top of the list is his support for the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will send $7 billion to the state through the end of 2027.

Making that case to voters is changing minds, according to Mooney.

“The Biden spending bills? Jim Justice has supported all of those; he’s been an enabler of the Democrats,” Mooney said. “As I make that case, I’m seeing voters switch to me in significant numbers, and I believe that will continue as the race heats up.”

Justice has been a Republican since August of 2017, when he announced the switch nine months after being elected as a Democrat governor. Regardless of a change in party affiliation, Mooney contends that many liberal ideas continue to follow him.

“West Virginians deserve a conservative U.S. Senator, and my opponent, Jim Justice, is a liberal man,” Mooney said. “Elected as a Democrat, he raised taxes, believe in special rights for transgendered people, and have assaulted our freedoms, so I am making the case every day and gaining every day right up until the May 14 election day. I am very confident.”

Mooney called out House Bill 5105, which would allow virtual and private school students to opt in or out when it comes to vaccine policies. If the governor fails to sign the measure supported by state lawmakers, he will again show his liberal tendencies.

“There’s a bill that passed the legislature that would simply allow private and virtual school students to set their own vaccine policies,” Mooney said. “I applaud the West Virginia legislature for passing that, and I call upon Governor Justice to sign that, not veto it like he is threatening to do.”

Mooney has opposed the private-sector coronavirus vaccine mandate from the Biden administration through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the directive from the Pentagon ordering those in the armed forces to roll their sleeves up or get out.

Mooney said choice is an important conservative value.

“We succeeded in reinstating military service men and women who would not vaccinate during the pandemic and were thrown out of the military for that reason,” Mooney said. “It’s another issue where West Virginians deserve a conservative senator who will fight for their freedoms.”