Blankenship loses bitter Republican US Senate fight in West Virginia

McConnell Won't Say if Blankenship Is Racist Until He Knows Election Result

Convicted coal magnate Don Blankenship's surprise third-place finish in Tuesday's West Virginia GOP Senate primary sidestepped yet another debacle for the party after consecutive meltdowns in special elections in Alabama and Pennsylvania.

"It worked out very well". He added: "Tremendous voter energy and excitement, and all candidates are those who have a great chance of winning in November".

McConnell, who typically avoids talking to reporters in the Capitol corridors, took a few questions as he departed the Senate floor.

It's not clear that a majority of voters now see the GOP's two major legislative initiatives as a single package - but it is clearly in the Democrats' interest to promote that idea.

But in IN, the Republican Senate nomination did land with a self-funding businessman who mocked his two main opponents - both sitting House members - as creatures of the establishment who look, vote, and even dress alike. Blankenship had dubbed McConnell "Cocaine Mitch" and created a firestorm when he referred to the Kentucky senator's father-in-law as a "Chinaperson" and later defended his use of the racist term.

West Virginia's attorney general has said he plans to notify a probation officer that GOP Senate candidate Don Blankenship violated the Ethics in Government Act by failing to file a form - but a federal prosecutor says the failure to file wouldn't have violated the terms of Blankenship's supervised release from prison.

"Patrick Morrisey will be a good candidate", said a smiling Sen. Yet despite the financial advantages, the political headwinds are largely against Democrats since all three states voted for President Donald Trump by sizable margins in 2016. But as I've shown, the public polls so far this cycle have been pretty predictive of the results.

Republican leaders had anxious that a win by Blankenship would cost them a plum shot at defeating Sen. Claire McCaskill after he mulled whether women actually get pregnant from "legitimate rape". Morrisey's career as a Washington lobbyist, in an opioid-ravaged state, might neutralize Manchin's biggest weakness, his own family's ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Despite deep progressive angst about the Democratic nominee's laconic style, Northam thumped Gillespie in the general election and brought coattails that led to big down-ballot gains.

Rupp said money may not be that much of a liability for Morrisey, who can expect a boost from outside groups to cut into Manchin's advantage in individual contributions, which were $3.1 million in the primary. "But I don't think I should do that". Manchin, McConnell indicated he is hopeful.

"He's not seen a conversation going on yet that he wouldn't break up to be able to get some attention, to be able to talk too", he said.

Particularly in California, this may mean Democrats do not field the establishment-backed candidate and lose some opportunities to pick up Republican-held seats. Even Richard Cordray, the progressive who beat poor Dennis Kucinich to win his party's nomination for governor in OH following an endorsement by Sen. Dick Durbin of IL, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate.

"Tonight was an historic night and I am truly humbled by your support", Morrisey said after being declared the victor.

"Everyone knows the Don Blankenship story", Jenkins said dismissively. In the days before the elections, there had been the familiar media interviews with voters drawn to the fringe-ABC interviewed a West Virginia man who claimed to have lost three cousins when Blankenship's mine exploded and who said that he was voting for the coal baron anyway because "I want an honest crook, and that's Blankenship".



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