Flake says he’ll donate to Manchin if Blankenship wins primary
GOP Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) said on Monday that he will donate to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’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.
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 Jenkins (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 Trump’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.
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
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 Chao. 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.
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