In 2016, Trump won the state by more than 42 points, but Republicans have grown increasingly concerned that reported front-runner Blankenship could be another Roy Moore, the failed, extremist Republican nominee who was accused of child molestation during last year's special election in Alabama. "Neither of my opponents can beat Joe Manchin without my support, but I will beat Joe Manchin even without the support of the establishment".
Blankenship served a one-year prison term for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 miners were killed in a 2010 explosion. Blankenship has recently come under fire for comments he made about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and McConnell's wife Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The president tweeted, "To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference". "Problem is, Don Blankenship, now running for Senate, can't win the General Election in your State ..."
"Mr. Morrisey has been less than truthful about his involvement with the drug companies", Blankenship said, noting that an independent bid might be the most viable option in the general election race against current West Virginia senator Democrat Joe Manchin. "Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!"
He responded to Trump's tweeted repudiation with a statement saying "the President is a very busy man and doesn't know me". No more fumbles like Alabama. Democrats have their own intraparty drama that could portend what happens in November, which we'll get to.
While the Republican Party has made its peace with Donald Trump, G.O.P. political operatives are anxious that Don Blankenship, the 2018 candidate most aggressively reproducing Trump's electoral playbook, may end up costing them. "Problem is, Don Blankenship, now running for Senate, can't win the General Election in your State..." As Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics explains, the keys to Democratic competitiveness in West Virginia are the economically left-leaning, culturally conservative working-class voters in the southwest part of the state. Not on what Blankenship has said or what he believes. The establishment is misinforming Trump, Blankenship told NBC Monday.
In reply, Blankenship Monday also reminded voters of that Alabama race and the fact that Trump endorsed Moore. "This thing has been going on within the Republican Party for some time and it resulted in Trump", he said. "The president hasn't been involved in this race, but we are looking forward to him endorsing us after we win the primary". And any means to win justifies the end - as long as the end is a victory.
Whether Trump and McConnell's opposition hurts Blankenship will be revealed Tuesday at the polls.