Blankenship Out For Blood: Making Sure Rival 'Won't Become Senator'

Ruben Ruiz
May 12, 2018

State officials noted that West Virginia's "sore loser" law leaves Blankenship with virtually no option to run in the general election.

All three candidates attempted to out-Trump each other. Yet even though Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, anti-establishment anger still animates their base.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who touted himself as a true conservative in the race, was the victor with 36 % of the vote, ahead of congressman Evan Jenkins, with 27 %. Blankenship was convicted in 2015 of conspiring to skirt mine standards at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine, where the disaster occurred in 2010. His campaign ads featured him staring into the camera while droning racist bilge.

Mr Morrisey brazenly accused the government of action that caused the explosion at his mine that killed 29 workers, and used racially charged rhetoric against McConnell and his "China family", a reference to relatives of the Republican leader's wife, Taiwan-born Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. He then blamed Trump for spreading fake news against him.

President Donald Trump called Don Blankenship after pushing for the one-time candidate's loss in the West Virginia Republican Senate primary, Politico is reporting. Joe Donnelly in November.

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Morrisey will now face Democratic Sen. Elsewhere in West Virginia, Richard Ojeda, a pro-gun, tattooed army veteran who passionately defended his state's striking teachers, won the 3rd District's Democratic primary. GOP voters in IN, meanwhile, chose wealthy businessman Mike Braun over two sitting congressmen to lead the party's charge against a vulnerable Democratic senator in the fall. (Evan Jenkins, another Republican congressman also lost in West Virginia.) All three candidates tried to claim Mr Trump's mantle while emulating his style, lambasting each other with derisive nicknames: "Lyin' Todd" for Mr Rokita, who falsely implied that Mr Trump had endorsed him; "Missing Messer" for the congressman who allegedly spends more time in the Washington area than in; and "Tax Hike Mike" for Mr Braun, who voted to raise the gas tax when he was a state legislator. Although Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has won five statewide elections in his career, he is widely viewed as one of 2018's most vulnerable incumbents.

In a possible sign of party unrest, however, Rep. Robert Pittenger lost in North Carolina to the Rev. Mark Harris, a Baptist pastor he narrowly beat two years ago. Morrisey presents an excellent chance for Republicans to pick up this seat, although it's true that Manchin and his Democratic primary opponent got more votes than all the Republicans together.

Rep. Jim Renacci in OH lived up to expectations by winning his party's Senate primary. Sherrod Brown in the fall.

President Trump reportedly called Blankenship after his loss, speaking only briefly but politely with the former candidate. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., against the Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution.

Other reports by GizPress

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