Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Controversial coal man places poor third in W. Va. primary

Don Blankenship
Convicted coal operator Don Blankenship came in third yesterday in the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in West Virginia. Blankenship got about 20 percent of the vote, compared to nearly 35 percent for the winner, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins got about 29 percent. "Blankenship, who has poured millions of dollars into state elections, vowed he would not support Morrisey in the general election," reports  Jessica Farrish of The Register-Herald in Beckley.

The former Massey Energy CEO's campaign grabbed national headlines as the public wondered how a candidate who called himself "Trumpier than Trump" would do in a region where the president enjoys some of the highest approval ratings in the country. Then Trump said in a Monday tweet that Blankenship couldn't win in the general election against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. "Blankenship said Tuesday night that he thought the tweet cost him 10 percentage points or more," Trip Gabriel reports for The New York Times.

Blankenship had pulled even with Morrisey and Jenkins in one recent poll after pouring $2 million of his personal fortune into ads. He painted himself as a victim of government insiders, referring to his prison sentence for his role in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners in 2010. He also decried national Republican leaders' efforts to derail his campaign, calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "Cocaine Mitch," a reference to the drug being found on one of the ships owned by McConnell's Chinese-American in-laws (whom Blankenship described as "China persons"). Which explains the post-race tweet from McConnell's 2020 re-election campaign:

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