CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey won a contentious Republican primary for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, beating convicted ex-coal executive Don Blankenship, Congressman Evan Jenkins and three others in Tuesday’s race.
Morrisey will face incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin in November. Both parties view the general election as key to Senate control for the next two years.
The primary became a test of President Trump’s clout. He came out strongly against Blankenship, who served prison time for a deadly mine disaster.
A two-term attorney general, Morrisey promoted his record of challenging policies under the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Morrisey deflected criticism of his past lobbying ties to the pharmaceutical industry and his roots in New Jersey, where he lost a 2000 congressional race.
Jenkins had raised $1.5 million during his campaign yet was far outspent by Morrisey and Blankenship. Jenkins and Morrisey often clashed during debates. Morrisey had criticized Jenkins for his liberal background and his past stint as a Democrat. Jenkins switched to Republican before winning his seat in Congress in 2014.
Voters didn’t heed Jenkins’ criticism of Morrisey’s New Jersey roots. Jenkins also continuously brought up Morrisey’s past lobbying ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Blankenship said Tuesday that he “didn’t get it done” and “failed West Virginians,” but he warned that “the Republican Party needs to be careful about being hijacked.”
Manchin said he looks forward to a “spirited” fall campaign and expects that President Donald Trump “will get involved” on behalf of his GOP opponent despite Manchin’s “good relationship” with the president.
Manchin coasted to the Democratic nomination Tuesday but remains a top Republican target given his state’s heavy GOP lean and overwhelming support for Trump.
The senator says he plans to campaign as he always has: a bipartisan problem solver who works “for West Virginians.”
Manchin told supporters at his Charleston campaign headquarters that the nation has “unfinished business” on affordable health care, infrastructure, taking care of veterans and helping working-class Americans like his state’s coal workers.
State Sen. Richard Ojeda defeated three other Democrats for the party’s nomination in the U.S. House 3rd District in West Virginia. Ojeda beat state Delegate Shirley Love, Huntington bus service CEO Paul Davis and nurse Janice Hagerman in Tuesday’s primary. The 3rd District seat is being vacated by Jenkins, who ran for U.S. Senate.
The GOP 3rd District results were not in as of press time.
This report based on various updates from The Associated Press.