MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The battle lines are being drawn in the West Virginia Republican primary fight next year between two incumbents, David McKinley and Alex Mooney. Their districts were merged based on the census — the Mountain State losing population.

Mooney is already attacking McKinley for his vote in support of a January 6 inquiry and for the Biden administration infrastructure bill. Mooney, however, is fending off alleged ethics charges over campaign spending — questionable overseas travel, a junket to California, a holiday ski retreat and meal expenses which may not qualify under campaign finance laws. Political observers are paying close attention.

“Congressman Mooney has to make a big outreach to the part of the district that was not his formerly, and Congressman McKinley will have to broaden his conservative credentials,” said Larry D. Kump (R), former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

“We haven’t had a congressional primary on the Republican side for some time. So, you know, obviously messaging is always part of the equation,” said longtime political observer John Reisenweber

Both McKinley and Mooney campaigns are already running ads. The West Virginia primary election is in May of next year. The filing deadline to appear on the ballot is the end of January.