There are a number of high-stakes contests taking place throughout in four states on Tuesday, primaries that will have major ramifications on the success of both parties this year.
Voters in West Virginia will choose a Republican Senate candidate to challenge incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). The top three contenders are Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Attorney General Patrick Morrissey and former coal executive Don Blankenship. Blankenship, a former coal executive who went to federal prison for conspiring to violate mine safety standards after 29 miners were killed in an explosion at a mine his company owned, appears to have gained momentum in recent days through a scorched-earth racist campaign aimed at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
On Monday, President Trump tweeted a plea for voters to reject Blankenship, not because of his past but rather that he would not be viable in a general election matchup. Blankenship dismissed the tweet and later criticized Trump for recommending “that people vote for a guy that was basically accused of pedophilia in Alabama,” a reference to Judge Roy Moore who lost a Senate race in Alabama last year after being accused of sexual misconduct with a number of minors.