Ex-con coal baron roils US Senate race, alarming Republicans

03 May, 2018, 12:26 | Author: Lillian Steele
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In his quest to become the next senator from West Virginia, Blankenship - the former CEO of Massey Energy who served a one-year sentence in connection with the deadliest USA coal mining explosion in decades - has made it part of his mission to take on McConnell. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in November.

When debate moderator Bret Baier asked how Blankenship would work with McConnell if elected, given his penchant for "slinging insults", he insisted it would not be a problem.

And yet there Blankenship was Tuesday night, one week before the primary, on stage debating two other main candidates: state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, deemed by some as a carpetbagger from New Jersey; and USA congressman Evan Jenkins, a onetime Democrat who, along with much of West Virginia, turned Republican.

West Virginia Republican Senate hopeful Don Blankenship is defending an ad his campaign released Monday that referred to GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as "Cocaine Mitch". During an interview on a West Virginia radio show last week, Blankenship suggested that McConnell has a conflict of interest on foreign relations issues because Chao's father is a "wealthy Chinaperson".

Morrisey will face Evan Jenkins, Thomas (Tom) Willis, Don Blankenship, Bo Copley and Jack Newbrough in the Republican primary on Tuesday, May 8.

Many pundits said the race could determine which party controls the Senate next year.

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Rokita and Messer hammered Braun as a "lifelong Democrat" for his history of voting in Democratic primaries. Chao's father was born in China and started an global shipping company in NY.

At the end of a weird campaign ad on his Facebook page Monday, Blankenship says, "One of my goals as USA senator will be to ditch Cocaine Mitch".

He has voted with the Republican president more than he has opposed him, his office says, noting that the senator and Trump have collaborated on trade, environmental rules, gun violence and court nominations.

Jenkins accused Morrisey of bringing "New Jersey values" to West Virginia.

Whatever the shakiness of the underlying facts, Blankenship is probably pleased that "Cocaine Mitch" is trending on Twitter.

"What they've said he's actually done (in the criminal case), I don't believe none of that", 21-year-old coal mechanic Zack Ball said while grabbing a bite to eat in the Boone County coal community of Danville. And then put me in prison.

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