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

GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (Ariz.) said on Monday that he will donate to Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money — Democrats craft billionaire tax with deal in reach Democrats face critical 72 hours Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Manchin nixes Medicare expansion 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 JenkinsWest Virginia New Members 2019 Republican Carol Miller holds off Democrat in West Virginia House race Trump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report 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 TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled 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 ChaoSaluting FOIA on its birthday House passes bill to strengthen authority of federal watchdogs Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' 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.