GOP senator: It’s not that Blankenship 'can’t win,' it’s that he 'shouldn’t win'

GOP senator: It’s not that Blankenship 'can’t win,' it’s that he 'shouldn’t win'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny Sunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover Veteran political reporter says New Hampshire voters have 'hunger' to moderate political turbulence MORE (R-Ariz.) came out Monday against West Virginia Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship, saying the former coal CEO and ex-convict shouldn't win the general election against Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSotomayor: Kavanaugh now part of the Supreme Court ‘family’ Trump to nominate former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as next EPA administrator Schumer reelected as Senate Democratic Leader MORE (D-W.Va.).

Flake's remarks come a day before West Virginia Republicans cast primary ballots to decide on their party's nominee to face Manchin. Republicans in Washington, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE, have slammed Blankenship as a bad pick who would lose a general election fight against Manchin.

“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.

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Blankenship will face off Tuesday against 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 state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Republicans in Washington have urged Republican primary voters to support Jenkins or Morrisey instead of Blankenship.

Flake's tweet followed a Trump tweet on Monday that told GOP voters in the state to oppose Blankenship because he "can’t win the General Election."

Trump compared Blankenship's chances in the West Virginia race to last year's Alabama Senate election, in which GOP candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreTrump to hold two rallies for Hyde-Smith day before Mississippi runoff Parties start gaming out 2020 battleground Victimhood culture and traditional justice are on a collision course MORE narrowly lost what should have been a safe seat for Republicans after allegations that he had sexual encounters with underage girls decades earlier.

Blankenship, a former coal CEO who spent time in prison after a fatal mine explosion for violating mining safety regulations, has drawn criticism for his campaign ads attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship As Democrats gear up to challenge Trump in 2020, the key political divide will be metropolitan versus rural MORE (R-Ky.) and his family.

In one, he called McConnell "Cocaine Mitch," and in another he referred to McConnell's "China family" — a reference to McConnell's Chinese-American wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoTrump, first lady attend special Supreme Court ceremony for Kavanaugh 5 ways Democrats can turn the House win into future success Overnight Energy: Groups want Senate to probe Interior watchdog controversy | Puerto Rico eyes plan for 100 percent clean energy | Dems say Congress already rejected part of EPA car emissions plan MORE.

"Swamp captain Mitch McConnell has created millions of jobs for China people. While doing so Mitch has gotten rich. In fact, his China family has given him tens of millions of dollars," Blankenship said in the ad. 

McConnell and other top Republicans have also opposed Blankenship's campaign.