The GOP is so desperate to stop ex-convict Don Blankenship from winning the Republican Senate primary in West Virginia Tuesday, that President Trump even inserted himself in the race via a tweet early Monday morning.
Politico reported Saturday evening that “four Republicans said they’d reviewed polling conducted in recent days showing Blankenship … moving narrowly ahead of his more mainstream GOP rivals.” On Monday, the Weekly Standard published two internal polls showing Blankenship with a 1-point lead and a 3-point lead.
Former Massey Energy CEO Blankenship’s popularity is surging even though he’s still on probation after serving one year in federal prison for conspiring to violate mine safety standards in the lead up to one of the worst mine disaster in decades, which killed 29 miners.
The Republican establishment opposes Blankenship fearing he is simply too toxic to win the November general election against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is considered vulnerable because Trump won the state by 40 percent in 2016.
Following the disastrous Alabama Senate loss by Roy Moore, the GOP worry “they’re staring down their latest potential midterm election fiasco.”
So last Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “I’m gonna go out on a limb here and ask the people of West Virginia to make a wise decision and reject Blankenship!” He added, “No more fumbles like Alabama. We need to win in November.”
Then, at 3:53 Monday morning, his father joined the fight, tweeting that Blankenship “can’t win the General Election in your State … No way! Remember Alabama.”
To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
This attack by the President led to a truly bizarre reply by Blankenship, claiming the Republican “establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the US Senate and promote the president’s agenda.”
He added: “As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump and this morning proves it.”
John Oliver weighed in this bizarre race Sunday evening on HBO.
Oliver offers the perfect sum up: “The truth is, when a party moves as far to the right as the Republicans have, the fringe guys are no longer fringe.”