nsucurrent.com May 24, 2018

Blankenship: I'm Trumpier than Trump

08 May 2018, 01:31 | Colleen Roy

Kucinich and Cordray are top candidates in the Ohio Democratic primary for governor

Kucinich and Cordray are top candidates in the Ohio Democratic primary for governor

"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. "I will beat Joe Manchin and ditch Cocaine Mitch, for the sake of the kids". "Tomorrow, West Virginia will send the swamp a message - no one, I mean no one, will tell us how to vote. No way!" Trump said in his tweet.

The race has been testy for months. And, he has also made clear that he doesn't accept the idea of the president as a moral leader, someone who does the right thing rather than the political thing. 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.

"I'm honored that President Trump encouraged voters to cast their vote for me to Make America Great Again", he said in a statement.

"He supported Hillary Clinton in 2008 and stood by and let Barack Obama run roughshod over WV", Morrisey tweeted. "Desperate attacks by a candidate not likely to have a good month". If Blankenship wins the Republican nomination, it will take an easy pickup win from the GOP.

Ahead of Tuesday's primary, a national Republican operative tells ABC News that candidates are starting to pull out all the stops now that it's "down to the wire".

In a debate last Wednesday, he defended his comments, saying that it was exactly like if someone had referred to him - Blankenship - as an "American-person". "Some people are Korean-persons, some people are African-persons". He's launched a racially charged campaign against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), which has intensified GOP efforts to tank Blankenship before they fear he tanks them. "While doing so, Mitch has gotten rich", Blankenship continued. "In fact his China family has given him tens of millions of dollars", he said in the ad.

Democratic PACs have poured in millions, too, for negative ads against Blankenship's opponents - a move which some Republican operatives say have helped boost support for the former coal baron in the state. "Remember Alabama", the president said. "We have a real chance to unite behind a proven conservative fighter and defeat Sen".

A weekend poll by one of Blackenship's rivals found him leading with 31 percent of the vote, Jenkins in second with 28 percent and Morrisey with 27 percent, according to the Weekly Standard.

A big reason Blankenship is around at all is that he's been able to contrast the bickering between the other two politicians with his political novelty, which is helpful, given that outsiders are very on-trend in politics. Manchin is essentially a lock Tuesday, but from there, nothing's certain. He won the state in the 2016 election by 42 percentage points. Now, however, the race is considered a toss-up.

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