Print | Back to e-WV The West Virginia Encyclopedia

David McKinley


Businessman and politician David McKinley was born in Wheeling on March 28, 1947. After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in civil engineering, he returned to his hometown where he worked in the construction industry for several years and taught night classes at local colleges. He then established McKinley and Associates, an architectural and engineering firm.

In 1980, McKinley was appointed to the House of Delegates. He was elected to the seat in 1982 and served until 1994. He was chairman of the state Republican Party from 1990 to 1994.

He ran for governor in 1996 but lost in the Republican primary to Cecil Underwood, who went on to become the state’s 32nd governor. In 2010, McKinley entered the race for the U.S. House of Representatives. In the general election November 2, 2010, he beat Democrat Mike Oliverio, who had defeated incumbent Alan Mollohan in the primary. As of 2013, McKinley served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. He sided with fellow House Republicans in opposing the policies of President Barack Obama and his administration. He opposed a major reform of health care and criticized federal regulations that targeted the coal industry. He broke with the GOP, however, in opposing a budget proposal that would have cut Medicaid. McKinley was reelected to a second term on November 6, 2012, defeating Democratic newcomer Sue Thorn, and again in 2014, defeating Auditor Glen B. Gainer III. He was reelected in 2016, 2018, and again in 2020. As a result of the 2020 Census, West Virginia lost a Congressional seat, and McKinley faced Alex Mooney in the Republican primary for the newly-redrawn Second District. McKinley lost the primary.

McKinley is married to the former Mary Gerkin of New Martinsville, and they have four children.