Blankenship bid divides West Virginia, as GOP primary rivals praise Trump intervention

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LANSING, W.Va. – On a sidewalk in Oak Hill on Monday, a curious woman had a question for the coal baron running for Senate.

“Are you Don Blankenship?” she asked.

“Yes,” he replied, extending his hand.

She refused to shake it.

A man walking with her jumped in to enthusiastically shake Blankenship’s hand, and then the pair disappeared down the street.

Everybody has an opinion about Don Blankenship in West Virginia – and they have for years.

The former coal baron recently served a one-year prison sentence on a conviction for conspiring to violate mine safety laws, following the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in 2010 that killed 29 people.

But he still has the possibility of becoming the Republican nominee for Senate on Tuesday, even though President Trump urged voters to support Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va. or Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

“I hope West Virginia voters will listen to President Trump when they go to the polls tomorrow,” Morrisey said in a statement.

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