Flake says he'll donate to Manchin if Blankenship wins primary
© Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Flake says he and his family got death threats 'from the right' Trump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona MORE (Ariz.) said on Monday that he will donate to Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinElection Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Early ballots pouring in with 15 days to the midterms Manchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia MORE's campaign if ex-coal CEO Don Blankenship wins Tuesday's primary in West Virginia and becomes the GOP nominee.

"If he does [win the primary] I think you'll see a lot of Republicans making a contribution to Joe Manchin. I certainly will be," he told reporters on Monday

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Blankenship, who spent a year in prison for violating mine safety standards, has momentum heading into Tuesday's primary, with polling showing him pulling ahead of Rep. Evan JenkinsEvan Hollin JenkinsTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Jenkins resigns from House, is sworn in on W.Va. Supreme Court More than 50 Dem House challengers outraise GOP incumbents MORE (R-W.Va.) and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Flake's comments come after he came out against Blankenship on Monday. He also appeared to take a veiled swing at President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE's decision to buck Blankenship because he couldn't win in November and not specifically for his controversial rhetoric.

"The problem isn't that Don Blankenship can't win a general election in West Virginia, it's that he shouldn't win a general election in West Virginia," Flake wrote on Twitter.

Trump took to Twitter early Monday morning to urge his supports to back either Jenkins or Morrisey.

But Flake argued that Trump should have more forcefully condemned Blankenship's controversial rhetoric. The former coal baron has drawn negative national headlines for attacks against McConnell's wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoMcConnell and wife confronted by customers at restaurant Claiming 'spousal privilege' to stonewall Congress Hillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence MORE. In one ad, Blankenship said McConnell had benefited from his "China family." 

"He ought to condemn not just the loss of a seat but to say somebody like this that expresses those kind of views should not be supported by Republicans," Flake added on Monday.