Trump urges West Virginia voters to reject convicted coal baron

Senator Elizabeth Warren questions Alex Azar during a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S

Yet primary polls suggest that Blankenship could still beat two experienced Republican politicians, Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Don Blankenship, the former mining tycoon who was sent to jail in 2016 for his culpability in the deaths of 29 miners who worked for him, is making a last-minute surge in the Republican primary for a key West Virginia Senate seat - and his own party is not at all happy about it.

Taking a page from Trump's 2016 playbook, Blankenship has talked about conspiracy theories, tried to revamp his past, has given his political opponents nicknames like "Little Joe" and went full throttle against Washington, D.C. Strategists point to the recent Fox News debate, where they say he came across as likable and even amusing after being painted as villain in political ads.

Blankenship predicts he cannot only win the primary but also defeat incumbent Democratic U.S. Joe Manchin in November "without the support of the establishment".

"Don Blankenship... can't win the General Election in your State", he tweeted.

Unfortunately for the party, and for McConnell, the ad appeared to give Blankenship a boost in the polls-raising the uncomfortable question of whether West Virginia Republicans are supporting him despite his blatantly racist ads, or because of them.

Instead, Trump recommended West Virginians vote for the either of the other two major candidates: Congressman Evan Jenkins or West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Democrats have their primary drama, too.

Blankenship coined the "Cocaine Mitch" nickname last week, saying it was because of a 2014 article reporting cocaine was found on a ship belonging to McConnell's father-in-law's company.

"This tweet is really a defining moment in the campaign because I think that it's going to make it clear that Don Blankenship should be rejected", Morrisey said on Bloomberg Radio. No more fumbles like Alabama. As if to prove the point, last week, Blankenship released an ad accusing Mitch McConnell of being a "swamp captain" whose "China family"-alluding to McConnell's wife, who was born in Taiwan-"has given him tens of millions of dollars".

Blankenship was the CEO of Massey Energy until the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.

On his use of the term "China people", which made national headlines, Blankenship says the "fake news" forgets that "China is a country". Not on what Blankenship has said or what he believes.

McConnell is married to Trump's Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whose parents immigrated to the 1961 and are both USA citizens.

Republican strategists feel that Mr. Manchin supplies them of the best chances to reclaim a Democratic seat, but this the conservative Democrat and former governor will easily acquire re election if Mr. Blankenship could be the nominee.

The victor of that special election will face Sen.

Trump's tweet on Blankenship starkly reveals both of those character traits.



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