Republicans are courting another electoral disaster with ex-con Don Blankenship in the West Virginia race. The stain on the GOP will be magnified after the debacles with accused child molester Roy Moore, who lost the Alabama senate race to Democrat Doug Jones, and Rick Saccone, who lost to Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania.
“With Blankenship skyrocketing in the West Virginia Republican Senate primary and blanketing the airwaves with ads assailing his fractured field of rivals as career politicians, senior party officials are wrestling with how, or even whether, to intervene.”
“Many of them are convinced that Blankenship, who served a one-year sentence after the deadly 2010 explosion at his Upper Big Branch Mine, would be a surefire loser against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin — and potentially become a national stain for the party.”
“During separate meetings with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, aides to Blankenship’s two primary opponents, Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, pointed to Blankenship’s traction and questioned what could be done to stop him. The Senate GOP campaign arm, which heard out the appeals, recently commissioned a survey to gauge the coal king’s electoral strength and determine his staying power in the race.”
Blankenship spent one year in federal prison after 29 were killed in a 2010 explosion at his Upper Big Branch Mine. It was one of the biggest mine disasters in the U.S. in four decades, the New York Times reports.