'I am Trumpier than Trump,' boasts West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship

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A defiant Don Blankenship is firing back after President Donald Trump urged West Virginia voters to support two of the convicted ex-coal executive's opponents in the Republican U.S. Senate primary.

Taking a page from Trump's 2016 playbook, Blankenship has talked about conspiracy theories, tried to revamp his past, has given his political opponents nicknames like "Little Joe" and went full throttle against Washington, D.C. Strategists point to the recent Fox News debate, where they say he came across as likable and even amusing after being painted as villain in political ads.

"The establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the U.S. Senate and promote the president's agenda", Blankenship responded in a statement.

Blankenship's push for one of West Virginia's Senate seats has hit a number of hurdles, with the most recent being Trump's move to dissociate from the ex-con.

Trump tweets on Monday: "To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference".

White House aides and Republicans in the Senate had been discussing whether Trump should comment on Blankenship and decided he should if it looked like Blankenship could win, three officials said, The Times reported.

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Blankenship is running against Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The president's tweet did not mention that he originally endorsed Mr Moore. Like Trump, Blankenship has cast himself as a victim of the establishment and a rigged system. And the coal baron's flagrant xenophobia - and habit of decrying Mitch McConnell as a cocaine dealer - means that the national Republican Party would likely do relatively little to boost Blankenship's candidacy. "As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump". Trump Jr. tweeted. "No more fumbles like Alabama".

Blankenship also has aired ads accusing McConnell of taking money from his "China family" and claims "Swamp captain Mitch McConnell has created millions of jobs for China people".

Blankenship served one year in prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards, a misdemeanor. "I've never used a race word".

The victor of the Republican primary election will face incumbent Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, who has opposed some of President Trump's policies. "All the ingredients are there for Blankenship to win-anti-Washington/anti-McConnell rhetoric and a lot of money while the other guys attack each other", the strategist said. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

And it's an all too recognizable feeling for Senate G.O.P. officials: at December, the celebration handed across the Alabama seat once held by Jeff periods to Doug Jones, a Democrat, afterwards nominating Roy S. Moore, a contentious former state decide that was enticed by a number of girls of earning advances to them when these were adolescents, allegations that Mr. Moore denied.

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