President Trump is urging West Virginia voters to reject a former federal convict and coal baron running in the Republican Senate primary, arguing that Don Blankenship would lose the general election. Trump tweeted on Monday: "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!" Politico on Sunday wondered if the White House would get involved after speaking to four GOPers who said 11th-hour polls suggest Blankenship could be moving ahead of Republican challengers Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Blankenship responded to Trump's tweet by writing that Trump doesn't know him and "the establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the US Senate and promote the president's agenda." He added: "Tomorrow, West Virginia will send the swamp a message—no one, and I mean no one, will tell us how to vote. As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump and this morning proves it." Per the AP, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Monday on Fox and Friends that the motivation behind the president's tweet is to "find the very best person" in West Virginia to challenge incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat. The primary is Tuesday. (Blankenship served a year in prison.)