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McConnell hits back at 'ridiculous' Chinaperson remark

McConnell hits back at 'ridiculous' Chinaperson remark
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Schumer: Fight for Senate is 'neck and neck' Nikki Haley powerfully rebuts Trump MORE (R-Ky.) hit back at ex-coal CEO Don Blankenship on Wednesday, doubling down on his opposition to the GOP Senate candidate's bid to win the primary in West Virginia.

"My father-in-law is an American, who lives in New York. Works in New York. And I don't have any comment about ridiculous observations like that," McConnell told Fox News on Wednesday.

Blankenship told a West Virginia radio station that McConnell faces conflicts of interest because the father of 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, is a "wealthy Chinaperson."

"There’s a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China. ... I read in books that people think he’s soft on China,” Blankenship said, referring to McConnell.

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Chao's family immigrated from China and founded an international shipping company.

The rhetorical volley is the latest escalation of a growing war between Blankenship, who is running as an anti-establishment Republican, and the GOP establishment.

McConnell subtly hit back at Blankenship on Wednesday, adding that he hopes GOP voters in West Virginia pick "somebody who can actually win the general election."

"I'm not in that race but I hope they nominate somebody who can actually win the general election," he reiterated, asked who he was supporting.

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) ManchinFive takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Blankenship endorses ex-W.Va. GOP Senate rival, calls him 'lying' drug lobbyist Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign MORE (W.Va.).

But a smattering of recent polling shows Blankenship receding into third place after outside groups with ties to the national party have spent hundreds of thousands running ads against him.

McConnell told The New York Times earlier this year that he didn't want Blankenship to win the primary election.