Blankenship Out For Blood: Making Sure Rival 'Won't Become Senator'

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Republicans went to the polls on Tuesday to choose nominees in three key Senate races on one of the biggest primary days of 2018 - and they did not squander a trio of their best pickup opportunities. (Evan Jenkins, another Republican congressman also lost in West Virginia.) All three candidates tried to claim Mr Trump's mantle while emulating his style, lambasting each other with derisive nicknames: "Lyin' Todd" for Mr Rokita, who falsely implied that Mr Trump had endorsed him; "Missing Messer" for the congressman who allegedly spends more time in the Washington area than in; and "Tax Hike Mike" for Mr Braun, who voted to raise the gas tax when he was a state legislator. "Remember Alabama", tweeted the president, referencing the loss of Republican Roy Moore, who he endorsed. "Don's on that Kentucky-West Virginia border". 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.

West Virginia is crucial for Republicans' efforts in November's mid-term elections, as they see the economically depressed Appalachian state as a prime target to flip a Senate seat held by Democrat incumbent Joe Manchin. Manchin claimed on Tuesday that Blankenship "was the only true conservative" candidate who ran for the Republican nomination.

West Virginia gave the president 68 percent of its vote in 2016.

Even as Blankenship rebuffed Trump's criticism this week, he described himself as "Trumpier than Trump" and played up his outsider credentials.

Perhaps Trump's intervention worked. Mr Manchin is a populist Democrat and wily campaigner with deep local roots, whereas Mr Morrisey did not move to West Virginia until 2006; before that he lobbied for pharmaceutical firms in Washington, which could prove damaging in a state wracked by opioid deaths. Blankenship only got about 20 percent of the vote.

A three-way Republican race to challenge Democratic Sen. In November he faces Joe Manchin, who will be a tougher opponent than the state's numbers hint.

Search Begins For New NYS Attorney General
However, the transition between attorneys general could offer the energy company an opening in strategy. But state law would allow him to decline those petitions if he's nominated to run for attorney general.

Mike Braun, a former state legislator turned businessman, beat out House Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.

Rivals since college, Messer and Rokita left their seats in the House to run for the Senate.

Another Indiana contest was less contentious: Greg Pence won the primary for the congressional seat his younger brother, Vice President Mike Pence, once held. While their battle hasn't drawn much national attention, the relentless negative attacks drew Braun, who until recently had voted in Democratic primaries, into the race. Viable candidates prevailed in all three, partly by emphasising their affinity with Mr Trump. Messser introduced a resolution calling on Trump to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

An Ohio state senator won the Republican primary to succeed retiring Rep. Sherrod Brown in November.

Richard Cordray, former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Trump loyalist Mick Mulvaney), will be the Democratic nominee for OH governor. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., against the Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution. He will now face Democratic Sen.

Sophia Tesfaye is the Deputy Politics Editor at Salon.

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