Trump Backs Jenkins, Morrisey Over Surging Blankenship

Morrisey and Blankenship are out with new paid media.

May 7, 2018, 10:06 a.m.

President Trump on Monday urged voters to elect either Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) or state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) on Tuesday, warning that former Massey CEO Don Blankenship (R) “can’t win the General Election in your State. … No way! Remember Alabama.” (Twitter)

Blankenship: “As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump and this morning proves it.” (MSNBC)

“The results of an internal campaign poll conducted for one rival Senate campaign on Saturday and Sunday were: Blankenship 31 percent, Jenkins 28 percent, Morrissey 27 percent. The results of another internal poll conducted Friday and Saturday were: Blankenship 28 percent, Morrissey 27 percent, Jenkins 14 percent. Two weeks earlier, the same rival campaign found Blankenship at 14 percent, Morrissey at 29 percent, and Jenkins at 26 percent.” (Weekly Standard)

“Over the final six days of the race, the self-funding coal baron is set to spend over $640,000 on commercials, according to media buying totals — more than Jenkins and Morrisey combined. Blankenship has spent over $2.5 million on TV ads in total, far more than his rivals.”

“Senior Republicans say they are also distressed that Jenkins and Morrisey spent nearly all of the campaign savaging each other. Further complicating matters is that a Democratic super PAC, Duty and Country, convinced that Jenkins would pose a formidable challenge to Manchin, has invested $1.8 million targeting him in an effort to keep him from winning the GOP primary.” (Politico)

Duty and Country reported spending an additional $382,000 to air ads opposing Jenkins. 35th Inc. also reported shelling out $145,000 in favor of Morrisey. (California Target Book)

CLOSING ARGUMENTS. Morrisey released a robocall Saturday saying “convicted criminal” Blankenship “didn’t vote for President Trump and is a resident of Nevada, where he must report to his parole officer” and says he would be “a vote to advance liberal positions, higher taxes, and abortion on demand … because Blankenship would get crushed in November.” (release)

“Blankenship plans to release his final radio advertisement, doubling down on his outsider status. ‘The establishment politicians are getting desperate and more hostile,” Blankenship notes in his radio message, due to air locally Monday morning. ‘They are calling me a bigot, a moron, a despicable character, and mentally ill.’ The radio advertisement also defends his previous use of the term, ‘China people.’ … Blankenship’s new radio advertisement notes, ‘The fake news is also pretending to be offended by the use of my words, “China people.” They seem not to realize that China is a country, not a race.’”

“The attorney general held a last-minute press conference Sunday to draw attention to Blankenship’s failure to submit a personal financial disclosure form, in potential violation of the Ethics in Government Act. ‘My campaign will be informing his probation officer in Nevada about this issue right away to determine if this refusal to comply with federal law violates the terms of his supervised release.’ Blankenship … instead [submitted] a late fee for subsequent file. The former coal baron spoke with his parole office on the phone Sunday and says he was told campaign financial disclosures ‘civil matter,’ not involving federal law.

“Blankenship’s parole expires midnight on Tuesday, the same night as the West Virginia primary.”

“Morissey indicated … that there is internal polling suggesting Blankenship has picked up steam in the last few days, following the Fox News debate.” Morissey: “I think it’s clear that Don Blankenship is in a close race now, it seems to be narrowed down between my campaign and Don Blankenship.”

“Although Blankenship has mentioned internal polling, his financial disclosures indicate he has conducted no such polls.”

Blankenship on Sunday said “he will not rule out a third party bid … if … Morrisey wins the Republican nomination Tuesday … and vows he will not support the attorney general if chosen as the Republican nominee.” Blankenship: “I have not ruled out anything. … I’ve said that I cannot let him win because of the opioid connection and planned parenthood connection.”

“West Virginia law contains a ‘sore loser’ clause barring candidates that lose in a party primary from running as an independent for the same post.” (CBS)

NOTABLE ABSENCE. “None of his rivals have raised the mine disaster as a campaign issue.” (WVPublicBroadcasting)

HARDLY KNEW YE. Jack Newbrough (R), a minor candidate, endorsed Blankenship. (WVMetroNews)

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