CHARLESTON (AP) — In two weeks, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will campaign for West Virginia’s U.S. Senate and House hopefuls.
The former Massachusetts governor will attend an Aug. 19 Charleston fundraiser and Beckley rally for Shelley Moore Capito, Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins. The three races are key as Republicans look to tip traditionally Democratic West Virginia further right.
Capito’s campaign announced the events Monday in a news release.
Capito, a seventh-term congresswoman, faces Democratic West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in a high-profile Senate race. Capito is favored as Republicans try to overturn a thin Democratic Senate majority.
Jenkins is challenging 19-term Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall in the 3rd Congressional District. Mooney and Democrat Nick Casey are seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat Capito will vacate.
In the Capito news release, Romney called the three Republicans “pro-coal advocates” who oppose President Barack Obama. In 2012, Romney beat Obama in all of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
“These candidates support the policies that will put West Virginia on a path toward economic prosperity, job-growth and freedom from Obama’s overreaching policies that threaten West Virginia’s way of life,” Romney said.
Tennant, Rahall and Casey have distanced themselves from the unpopular president. They say his proposal to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants will hurt West Virginia’s iconic fossil fuel industry.
Romney’s former vice-presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan, already lent Capito support during a Charleston event last month.
On the same day, progressive star Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., headlined an event for Tennant in Shepherdstown.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota crisscrossed West Virginia for Tennant in April. The two energy state Democrats blasted Obama’s emissions rules.
It’s not the first time Romney helped Capito and tried to get Rahall out of office. Romney showed up in Charleston in 2006 to support Capito and GOP Cabell County Sheriff Kim Wolfe, who unsuccessfully challenged Rahall.