A Republican candidate for the GOP Senate nomination in West Virginia ratcheted up his campaign attacks on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him “Cocaine Mitch” in a new ad.
Don Blankenship, a former coal CEO who pleaded guilty to safety violations after an explosion killed 29 mine workers, had been in a tight race with state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Rep. Evan Jenkins for the Republican nomination to take on Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) in November.
But allies of McConnell formed a super PAC and began running ads targeting Blankenship’s past as leader of Massey Energy Co at the time of the Upper Big Branch mine accident, the deadliest such coal incident in decades. Manchin is one of the top GOP targets this fall, and party strategists think Blankenship could not win in a general election given his background.
Blankenship, who was sentenced to a year in federal prison, has responded with personal attacks on McConnell, the most recent coming Tuesday in a Facebook ad in which he appears to cite an allegation from liberals that the family of McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, has a shipping background connected to drug dealers.
“One of my goals as U.S. senator will be to ditch ‘Cocaine Mitch,’ ” Blankenship says in the ad. – READ MORE[give_form id=”79809″] [contentcards url=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-senate-candidate-derides-mcconnell-calls-him-cocaine-mitch-in-new-ad/2018/05/01/cd0c5776-4d80-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.df8dd0b88605″ target=”_blank”]