Republicans running to challenge U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan have been courting Tea Party groups in the state's 1st District, where the movement may have its best shot at influencing an election this year in West Virginia, The Associated Press reports.
While neither group has endorsed a GOP candidate, leaders of the Parkersburg and North Central tea parties say a number of their members appear to favor Andrew "Mac" Warner. Tom Stark also enjoys support among the latter group, as does Sarah Minear and Dave McKinley, co-founder Ryan Kennedy said.
"Kennedy added that his group has endorsed state Sen. Mike Oliverio, Mollohan's challenger in the May 11 Democratic primary," the article said.
"He said a lot of things that probably would be very welcome at a Tea Party rally," Kennedy told AP, citing a recent Oliverio radio appearance.
Update: The Hill reports that " internal GOP polling shows Warner has surpassed former state Sen. Sarah Minear in polling and is running first in the key Clarksburg and Parkersburg media markets."
The North Central tea party is based around Clarksburg. The bulk of The Hill report focuses on $24,000 worth of tax liens filed against the Warner brothers beleaguered rental housing business. The article notes AP's earlier report on the Warners' financial and legal woes.
McKinley seized on those liens when responding to AP regarding criticisms of his candidacy from members of the Parkersburg tea party, and the support of its members of Warner's campaign.
As AP had, The Hill cites McKinley's national GOP backing while reporting that "the underfunded Warner is threatening to play spoiler." It concludes the business and financial situation "hasn't kept Warner from running an increasingly successful campaign for Congress."