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Is Don Blankenship the Roy Moore of West Virginia?

       5/8/2018

Don Blankenship

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The Republican Senate primaries are today in West Virginia, and President Donald Trump has cautioned voters to “remember Alabama”.

“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!”

West Virginia, a state with more than half of their exports being coal, will vote between three candidates to represent their state in the senate; U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy.

The controversy centers around Blankenship, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2014 for his involvement in the explosion at Massey-owned Upper Big Branch mine, which killed 29 miners. It was the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1970, when an explosion killed 38 in Hyden, Kentucky. Blankenship has been accused of purposely cutting corners on safety regulations to improve profitability.

Trump’s comments on Twitter compare Blankenship to Roy Moore, the politician who lost the Alabama Senate special election last year. Moore’s campaign was mired by accusations of sexual abuse, and his public appearances were lampooned, such as when he rode in on horseback to vote. Luther Strange, a former Attorney General for Alabama, was defeated by Moore in the Republican primary, but would have fared much better against Doug Jones in the general election. Jones’ victory narrowed the margin between Democrats and the Republicans for majority control of the Senate.

The winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary will run in November against Sen. Joe Manchin, who is considered one of 2018’s most vulnerable Democrats, and if it came down to Manchin and Blankenship, the Democrats will win. No reasonable West Virginian would vote for Blankenship after what happened at Upper Big Branch. It was absolutely atrocious. And the Democrats will use the same smear tactics against him that they used against Moore, which is why they are funneling money into his campaign.

And they’re right to do so. In the documentary “Blood on the Mountain”, video of Don Blankenship during appears where he is asked, “Do you know how many fatalities there have been at Massey Energy company mines since it became a publicly traded company in 2000?” His response? “No, not exactly.” The smear campaign writes itself. He will never win. West Virginians would be best suited to elect AG Morrisey, as Jenkins already holds a seat in the house.

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