Thursday, 20 September, 2018

President Trump weighs in on W. Va. Senate race

Isabel Fisher | 08 May, 2018, 01:39

The similarities between President Donald Trump and ex-con coal baron-turned-West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship are impossible to miss. Problem is, Don Blankenship, now running for Senate, can't win the General Election in your State No way! The president has felt burned by Republicans once he injected himself into other races simply to watch his preferred applicants autumn limited.

"The President is a very busy man and he doesn't know me, and he doesn't know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary", Blankenship said. He added that the "institution would be misinforming him because they usually do not desire me to function as from the U.S. Senate and market the President's schedule". Trump supported Moore, who was accused of sexual assault against children, in the race against Democrat Doug Jones.

Blankenship argued that neither Jenkins or Morrisey could beat Manchin without his support, but he would prevail over the Democratic stalwart "even without the support of the establishment".

"The problem isn't that Don Blankenship can't win a general election in West Virginia, it's that he shouldn't win a general election in West Virginia".

Republicans want to retain control of Congress in the November congressional elections that are viewed by some as referendum on Trump's presidency.

In the three-way West Virginia primary, some Republicans are concerned that a victory by Blankenship would mean a winnable seat becomes almost impossible to defend, repeating the results in Alabama. Moore's loss narrowed Republicans' Senate majority to 51-49.

Early in the midterm election cycle, Republicans had hoped that winning Manchin's seat would increase their slim Senate majority. The former CEO of Massey Energy served a year in prison for his involvement in the deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion.


Blankenship surged into the race after being released from jail less than a year ago.

Coal miners are an influential political constituency in West Virginia and Trump's White House victory came amid promises to revive the ailing coal industry.

Despite his past, the 68-year-old Blankenship and his anti-establishment message appear to be resonating with voters, in a state with a 5.4 percent jobless rate, the third-highest in the country.

Blankenship has centered his candidacy around attacking fellow Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, accusing him of undermining Trump.

Blankenship is apparently trying to link the Kentucky Republican to a 2014 news report about drugs that were purportedly found on a ship owned by his in-laws. They are "China people", Blankenship said in a recent ad. McConnell, who has opposed Blankenship's Senate run, is married to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. He called Chao's father a "wealthy China person".

Mr. McConnell, who is profoundly unpopular among Republican primary voters, has mainly sidestepped the attacks, but his allies also have continued to assail Mr. Blankenship.

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