Manchin Sounds Like a ‘Yes’

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is up for re-election this year, told Talkline radio that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “has all the right qualities” of a Justice and that he will defer to his constituents when casting his vote.

Said Manchin: “I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards. A family person who’s very involved in his community. Has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed.”

Manchin Holds Solid Lead In West Virginia

A new Monmouth poll in West Virginia finds Sen. Joe Manchin (D) holds a solid lead over challenger Patrick Morrisey (R), 48% to 39% among all voters.

“Another 4% support Don Blankenship, who is seeking to run as the Constitution Party candidate after losing his bid for the GOP nomination. West Virginia has a “sore loser” law that may prevent him from appearing on the general election ballot. When Blankenship’s supporters are reallocated to their second choice, Manchin maintains a 49% to 42% lead.”

“The race looks very similar using two different likely voter models. A historical midterm model gives Manchin a 49% to 40% lead over Morrisey with Blankenship in the race, and a 50% to 43% lead without. Using a model that includes a turnout surge in areas where Democrats tend to perform more strongly gives a Manchin a 50% to 39% lead when including Blankenship and 51% to 42% lead without the Constitution Party candidate.”

Blankenship to Wage Third Party Bid

“West Virginia coal baron and former prisoner Don Blankenship announced on Monday that he plans to launch a long-shot third-party Senate bid after finishing a distant third in this month’s Republican primary,” Politico reports.

“Blankenship said he would run in the general election as the Constitution Party nominee. But he would need to overcome a ‘sore loser’ law in West Virginia that prevents failed candidates in a main-party primary from refiling to run in the general election under another party’s banner.”

“Blankenship said he’s prepared to challenge that law in court if needed.”

Blankenship Will Work Against GOP Nominee

Don Blankenship (R), who lost his GOP Senate primary bid in West Virginia this week, “is actively plotting how to undercut” Patrick Morrisey’s (R) Senate candidacy, The Hill reports.

Said adviser Greg Thomas: “He’s not going to sit back and let a corrupt carpetbagger highjack our party.”

For members: Manchin Will Be Tougher to Beat Than Republicans Think

Trump Calls Blankenship After Pushing for His Loss

“President Trump connected by phone on Wednesday with Don Blankenship, the former coal baron and ex-con whose Senate candidacy he helped sink,” Politico reports.

“Trump and Blankenship spoke briefly… The conversation was described as straightforward, polite and cordial, with the president calling to exchange pleasantries and offer his congratulations on waging the campaign.”

Blankenship Predicts Victory In West Virginia Primary

A defiant Don Blankenship (R) “shrugged off President Trump’s last-minute plea for Republican primary voters to reject his insurgent Senate candidacy — and flatly predicted it would fail to halt his momentum,” Politico reports.

“On the final day of the dramatic West Virginia campaign, the coal baron and ex-prisoner seemed unbothered by the president’s foray into the contest, arguing that voters would see through it as the latest ploy in an establishment-led effort aimed at keeping him from winning the nomination.”

Playbook: “The obvious question here is what does Mitch McConnell, the NRSC and the constellation of big-money outside groups that support Senate Republicans do if Blankenship wins. It’s very difficult to see McConnell supporting Blankenship after he called the majority leader’s wife’s family ‘China people,’ and suggested the Kentucky Republican has mixed allegiances because of Elaine Chao’s family’s heritage. But knocking Sen. Joe Manchin out of the Senate has always been part of the GOP plan to keeping — or expanding — their majority in the Senate. “

West Virginia Shows Trump Was No Aberration

Dana Milbank: “Whether or not the president stops Blankenship, the West Virginia GOP primary confirms that this sort of vulgar demagoguery is becoming routine. Trump’s election was no aberration. Rather, he exploited deep problems in American politics that had been building for years — and others, following his example, will exploit those same problems after he’s gone.”

“Before Trump, there was Sarah Palin, the tea party movement, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Republican Study Committee, the Freedom Caucus. The Republican Party tried to harness the rage of the nativist right but ultimately couldn’t contain it. House speakers John Boehner (R-OH) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) failed, as will whoever leads the party next. Now we have Blankenship, Roy Moore, Joe Arpaio and a proliferation of name-calling misfits and even felons on Republican ballots. They are monsters created by the GOP, or rather the power vacuum the GOP has become.”

Two Internal Polls Give Blankenship the Lead

Weekly Standard: “Republicans are panicking as internal polls show Don Blankenship, a coal baron who spent time in jail for a mining disaster that killed 29 workers, surging into the lead in the West Virginia Senate GOP primary over Attorney General Patrick Morrissey and Congressman Evan Jenkins.”

“The results of an internal campaign poll conducted for one rival Senate campaign on Saturday and Sunday were: Blankenship 31%, Jenkins 28%, Morrissey 27%.”

“The results of another internal poll conducted Friday and Saturday were: Blankenship 28%, Morrissey 27%, Jenkins 14%. Two weeks earlier, the same rival campaign found Blankenship at 14%, Morrissey at 29%, and Jenkins at 26%.”

For members: Should We Believe These Internal Polls?