Published: Tue, May 08, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Trump urges West Virginia Republicans to oppose Blankenship

Trump urges West Virginia Republicans to oppose Blankenship

President Donald Trump is distancing himself from controversial Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship.

Republicans worry they'll blow their chance to unseat Sen.

"I think it could be misunderstood - people love Trump's policies and his commitment to West Virginia, they don't necessarily love individuals". He also is running television ads targeting the Taiwanese heritage of McConnell's wife, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Morrisey, one of the two beneficiaries of Trump's tweet, said he hasn't spoken to the president in the past few days, but nominating a Republican who can defeat Manchin is key.

Blankenship's campaign said the candidate has already spoken to his probation officer, who wasn't concerned about the financial disclosure.

The Blankenship campaign's own internal survey puts the former coal boss far ahead; the poll of 1,000 West Virginia Republican voters gave Mr. Blankenship 37 percent, compared to just 20 percent for Mr. Morrisey and 15 percent for Mr. Jenkins.

But he still has the possibility of becoming the Republican nominee for Senate on Tuesday, even though President Trump urged voters to support Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va. or Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. "As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump and this morning proves it", Blankenship said of his race against Republican opponents Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and West Virginia Rep. Evan Jenkins.

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During last year's special election for an open U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, Trump backed Luther Strange over Roy Moore in the Republican primary.

He explicitly referenced the race at the end of the event, as he asked the audience to cheer for Jenkins or Morrisey in a demonstration of how the crowd planned to vote in the upcoming GOP senate primary.

Blankenship fired back in a statement to NBC's Ali Vitali.

"He (Trump) doesn't know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary", Blankenship said. In another poll, it's Blankenship 28 percent, Morrisey 27 percent, Jenkins 14 percent. He won the state in the 2016 election by 42 percentage points.

The former coal baron recently served a one-year prison sentence on a conviction for conspiring to violate mine safety laws, following the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in 2010 that killed 29 people. What about that time he referred to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao's husband, as "Cocaine Mitch".

But the President's son does not share that sentiment and unleashed a series of tweets on Thursday urging West Virginia Republicans to vote against Blankenship. "Let's find the very best person in West Virginia and not have a situation where we can't compete in November".

Blankenship also has aired ads accusing McConnell of taking money from his "China family" and claims "Swamp captain Mitch McConnell has created millions of jobs for China people". Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic and someone mentioned as a possible 3rd party candidate for president in 2020, hit Trump for that mentality in a tweet Monday.

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