What's at Stake in Tuesday's Primaries

4 states go to the polls, with West Virginia's GOP Senate primary among the big races
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2018 11:05 AM CDT
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West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

(Newser) – It's a huge day for both political parties with primary voters in four states—West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina—going to the polls. Despite the small number of states involved, the results could go a long way in determining which party will be in control of the Senate next year. The race getting the most attention is in West Virginia, where a once-imprisoned coal executive, Don Blankenship, is vying to become the GOP candidate for the Senate against two more mainstream opponents. Republican leaders, including President Trump, are actively trying to prevent that. More details and highlights:

  • Blankenship: The GOP thinks it has a rare chance to flip a Senate seat in November by ousting vulnerable Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin in West Virginia. But party leaders say that won't happen if the controversial Blankenship wins Tuesday's primary. Late polls show he has a chance, however, especially if his two GOP foes "split the anti-Blankenship vote," per Politico.
  • How bad? So what if Blankenship wins? "I don't know," says John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking Republican senator. "But let's just hope and pray that that doesn't happen." It's possible the party would cut ties with its own nominee in November, reports the Washington Post.

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