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Blankenship releases ad calling McConnell 'Cocaine Mitch'

West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship (R) released a new ad on Monday in which he labels Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.) as “Cocaine Mitch.”

“One of my goals as U.S. senator will be to ditch Cocaine Mitch. When you're voting for me, you’re voting for the sake of the kids,” Blankenship says at the conclusion of the campaign spot.

The ex-coal CEO has previously lobbed attacks at McConnell.

Blankenship's campaign in a press release on Tuesday pointed to McConnell’s father in law in explaining the claim.

"His father-in-law who founded and owns a large Chinese shipping company has given Mitch and his wife millions of dollars over the years,” the press release reads. “The company was implicated recently in smuggling cocaine from Colombia to Europe, hidden aboard a company ship carrying foreign coal was $7 million dollars of cocaine and that is why we've deemed him 'Cocaine Mitch.’ "

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Politico on Monday noted a 2014 report in the left-leaning Nation magazine that drugs were once found on a shipping vessel owned by McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoHillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence Trump administration moves ahead with plans to rewrite self-driving cars rules Transportation Department will 'no longer assume' commercial drivers are human MORE.

The Hill has reached out to McConnell's office for comment.

Blankenship previously attacked McConnell and Chao, saying last week that the Senate majority leader faces conflicts of interest because his father-in-law is a “wealthy Chinaperson.”

McConnell, who has said he doesn't want Blankenship to win the West Virginia GOP primary, called the remarks “ridiculous.”

Blankenship, who was released from prison less than a year ago, is battling Rep. Evan JenkinsEvan Hollin JenkinsJenkins resigns from House, is sworn in on W.Va. Supreme Court More than 50 Dem House challengers outraise GOP incumbents Key Republican says House taking targeted approach to combating opioid epidemic MORE (W.Va.) and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for the GOP nomination on May 8. The winner will face Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees MORE (W.Va.).

A spate of recent polling shows Blankenship fading into third place in the primary race, after an outside group with ties to the national GOP spent heavily to sink his candidacy.

--This report was updated on May 1 at 1:48 p.m.