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Big stakes in West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio bellwether primaries

Blankenship said in a statement: "I will win the primary and I will beat Joe Manchin".

Yet none of Tuesday's other contests was expected to have more impact on the midterm landscape than West Virginia, where Blankenship embraced Trump's tactics - casting himself as a victim of government persecution and seizing on xenophobia, if not racism - to stand out in a crowded Republican field that includes state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Republican Rep. Evan Jenkins. All three leading Republicans in the primary have distanced themselves from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but Blankenship has blasted him as "Cocaine Mitch" and said McConnell has gotten rich because of his "China family". Trump tweeted this week that there's "no way" Blankenship can win in November, and national Republican groups have spent money trying to defeat him. Manchin is a moderate Democrat in a state that has become increasingly Republican, but still enjoys popularity in the state.

As primary elections within West Virginia and the rest of the country begin, one can be led to question the importance of voting, especially during the primaries, which are often perceived as inferior or useless in comparison to the general elections.

North Carolina Republicans weighed in on Rep. Robert Pittenger, who faced a primary challenger who nearly upset him two years ago.

Among the congressional candidates in IN is Greg Pence, the older brother of US Vice President Mike Pence, who held the seat for a decade.

West Virginia is one of three U.S. states where voters are choosing Republicans to take on endangered Democratic Senate incumbents, as President Donald Trump's party seeks to maintain its control of Congress in November's mid-term elections.

Democrats haven't faced intense intra-party battles this year, but the primary race for OH governor has seen endorsements split between the party establishment and progressive activists, echoing the divisive 2016 presidential primary.

West Virginia: Will Blankenship burst the GOP establishment's bubble? He urged Republicans to back either Morrisey or Jenkins.

At the center of the drama is Don Blankenship, a former Massey Energy CEO who was convicted of a misdemeanor for conspiring to violate mine safety regulations after its Upper Big Branch Mine exploded, killing 29.

The retired coal executive was released from prison previous year for his role in a mine explosion that killed 29 men.

"I don't think that's going to happen", said Sen.

In Ohio, Republicans will likely nominate a more conservative candidate than outgoing Republican Gov. John Kasich, a 2016 presidential candidate and frequent Trump critic. Ruby led the prosecution against Blankenship, along with USA attorney for West Virginia Booth Goodwin.

In the 9th Congressional District, between suburban Charlotte and Fayetteville, GOP Rep. Robert Pittenger is working to fend off a primary challenger in conservative pastor Mark Harris, and he's had to move to the right in order to do so, which could endanger him more come November. Luther Strange for the Alabama seat vacated by Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions. "Remember Alabama", he wrote, referring to Republican Roy Moore who lost a Senate special election in December to a Democrat after allegations surfaced that he had molested at least one teenage girl and pursued several others decades ago.

The head of the Senate Republican campaign arm has highlighted Blankenship's criminal history.

Blankenship has used race and ethnicity to appeal to supporters in the campaign's final days, just as Trump did throughout his campaign.

The coal magnate also committed a social faux pas during the campaign when he referred to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao's father as a "wealthy China person" who was "well-connected in China".

The ad concludes: "Call Sen".

"You get somebody like that in the Senate, you might get us one seat but you lose your soul", Flake said.



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