Evan Jenkins, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP Senate nomination in West Virginia, was touring the plant before Tuesday's primary election. Morrisey will face off with blue dog Democratic Senator Joe Manchin in a race that the GOP believe could be key to gaining a super majority. But a handful of upsets in the primaries left Democrats with a few new opportunities for upsets in the general election. In addition to his racially insensitive language, Blankenship had spent a year in prison for his involvement in lax safety standards that led to a deadly mine explosion.
Blankenship lost the primary, with the nomination instead going to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
A bright spot for Republicans in swing-state Ohio: GOP turnout was considerably stronger than Democratic voting in the open governor's race. Blankenship was a distant third at 20 percent. He faced intense criticism after releasing an ad attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his "China family".
Hopelessly behind in West Virginia, Blankenship conceded defeat Tuesday night. Aides posted a picture of McConnell surrounded by white dust along with the words, "Thanks for playing, Don". "It is not our understanding right now that it is an impossibility, but we are not saying it is a definite possibility". But such skepticism was missing in the run-up to primary day as Politico reported that victory was "within reach" for Blankenship.
And as the results rolled in on Tuesday - but long before the race had been called - Blankenship took to the stage at his party to deliver some dour results. "Probation ends at 12:01 a.m. tonight. That doesn't mean it won't change". "And I hope that happens". But Don, you can not question Don's conservatism and also him being a Republican in West Virginia.
"I haven't really thought about what I'm going to do tomorrow", he continued. "And I am staying upstairs so I don't have to worry about a DUI or anything". "Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey".
And the other candidates were feeling it.
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CNN's latest poll looks like most others on this measure. "They are showing that Blankenship and I are tied".
The Blankenship-was-surging storyline came from "internal polling" leaked to the media.
Before his loss was official, Blankenship promised to explore his options in the general election - including whether state election law might allow him to launch a third-party bid that could undermine Morrisey's candidacy.
Trump Jr. will particularly focus on West Virginia, Missouri, Montana and IN, four states that have key Senate races where Republicans are looking to unseat Democrats IN states Trump won IN 2016, and on defending House seats IN districts where the President has a high approval rating, the sources said. "All your name calling won't stop me from fighting those who want to cheat OH families". "You're going to have a chance to get a senator that's going to vote our program".
The results capped a dramatic final week in which Trump used his Twitter bully pulpit to persuade voters not to pick Blankenship and throw away a shot at a winnable race.
"I am off of probation tonight at midnight", the candidate said as the night took a turn.
She added, "We've got a ton of work to do and things will be hard at times".