Trump tweet: Blankenship 'can't win' general election in West Virginia
President Donald Trump tweeted his thoughts on the U.S. Senate race Monday morning, steering voters away from Don Blankenship. Blankenship responded in a statement, vowing that he will win the primary and then go on to defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in the fall.
“To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference,” Trump tweeted. “Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State...No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!”
Blankenship is running against five other GOP candidates in the primary election Tuesday including Bo Copley, Tom Willis, Evan Jenkins, Patrick Morrisey and Jack Newbrough.
One of those candidates, Newbrough, on Monday threw his support behind Blankenship in the primary because he denounces Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate Majority leader. He also said he believes there are too many attorneys in Congress.
“Mr. Blankenship speaks his heart, and I believe he was really treated unfairly in the UBB explosion,” Newbrough said in a statement. “I believe he will work for the West Virginia people and drain the swamp just like President Trump wants. I love West Virginia, and he will do West Virginia right. Who goes to prison on a misdemeanor?”
Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy. He announced his run for Senate last November. He served a year in prison for his conviction for misdemeanor conspiracy to violate federal safety standards at a West Virginia mine where 29 miners died in 2010. Blankenship has long maintained his innocence.
Morrisey was quick to agree with Trump, tweeting he is "exactly right. @DonBlankenship would be a disaster for West Virginia and would get trounced by @Sen_JoeManchin."
Blankenship issued a statement in response to the president's tweet, saying Trump is "a very busy man and he doesn’t know me, and he doesn’t know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary."
"The establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the U.S. Senate and promote the president’s agenda," Blankenship continued in his statement. "West Virginians are not going to vote for candidates who have failed to address the drug epidemic, aligned themselves with abortionists, and have never created a job. I will win the primary and I will beat Joe Manchin.
"West Virginians want more jobs, an end to the drug epidemic, and an honest government. I will will do the job that Morrisey and Jenkins can’t do and have not done. I am the only candidate that has beaten Joe Manchin, and I have done it twice. In the history of West Virginia, no one has been more supportive of the Republican Party and conservative causes than I have been. Neither of my opponents can beat Joe Manchin without my support, but I will beat Joe Manchin even without the support of the establishment.
"West Virginia voters should remember that my enemies are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and my opponents would not even be running as Republicans had I not resurrected the Republican Party in West Virginia. Tomorrow, West Virginia will send the swamp a message—no one, and I mean no one, will tell us how to vote. As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump and this morning proves it."
One of Blankenship’s most recent campaign ads takes a jab at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Eyewitness News I-Team did a fact check of the ad, which many are concerned is racist.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted last week West Virginia voters should “reject Blankenship.”
“I hate to lose,” the tweet posted on May 3 said. “So I'm gonna go out on a limb here and ask the people of West Virginia to make a wise decision and reject Blankenship! No more fumbles like Alabama. We need to win in November. #wv #wvpol”
Both Trump Jr. and Trump referenced the Alabama Senate race where Democrat Doug Jones defeated republican Roy Moore in what was described as an upset.