Blankenship blames President Trump for Senate bid loss in West Virginia

Don Blankenship, a former coal baron and controversial Senate candidate, blamed President Trump for his failure to win the West Virginia primary elections on Tuesday night.

Blankenship conceded after he won 20 percent of the votes and came in third among the Republican candidates in West Virginia with 66 percent reporting.

He told CNN that Trump’s tweet — which warned constituents in West Virginia on Monday to steer clear of the candidate — may have cost him anywhere from 10-15 points.

But Blankenship maintained his optimism, and told supporters in Charleston that his probation would end at midnight Tuesday.

Blankenship, who spent a year in prison after an explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine killed 29 men in 2010, said, “I am off of probation tonight at midnight. I haven’t been able to go places I’d like to go for three years now.”

“I get my guns back in a day or two, so I am going to win either way tonight,” he added.

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Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship
Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, Republican U.S. Senate candidate from West Virginia, pauses while speaking during a town hall campaign event in Huntington, West Virginia, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Blankenship has previously declared avid support for pro-coal President Donald Trump and signaled he was aligned with West Virginia's hard-working electorate. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship (3rd L) and his attorney Bill Taylor (4th R) are met by media outside the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia December 3, 2015. Blankenship was found guilty in federal court on Thursday of conspiring to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine, the site of a 2010 blast that killed 29 people. REUTERS/Chris Tilley
Former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship is talking on his mobile phone as he walks into the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia December 3, 2015. Blankenship was found guilty in federal court on Thursday of conspiring to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine, the site of a 2010 blast that killed 29 people. REUTERS/Chris Tilley
Don Blankenship, CEO of Massie Energy, talks with reporters near the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, April 6, 2010. Rescue crews moved giant drills to a West Virginia coal mine Tuesday in hopes of boring deep inside to find four miners missing after an explosion that killed at least 25 of their co-workers in the worst U.S. mine disaster in a quarter century. REUTERS/Mike Munden (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENERGY BUSINESS)
MORGANTOWN, WV - MARCH 01: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Don Blankenship speaks at a town hall meeting at West Virginia University on March 1, 2018 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Blankenship is the former chief executive of the Massey Energy Company where an explosion in the Upper Big Branch coal mine killed 29 men in 2010. Blankenship, a controversial candidate in central Appalachia coal country, served a one-year sentence for conspiracy to violate mine safety laws and has continued to blame the government for the accident despite investigators findings. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Donald 'Don' Blankenship, former chief executive officer of Massey Energy Co., smiles as he exits the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Blankenship, one of Appalachias last coal barons, was found guilty of plotting to speed up production by ignoring safety rules at a company mine that later blew up killing 29 workers. Photographer: Calvin Mattheis/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, Republican U.S. Senate candidate from West Virginia, speaks during a town hall campaign event in Huntington, West Virginia, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Blankenship has previously declared avid support for pro-coal President Donald Trump and signaled he was aligned with West Virginia's hard-working electorate. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Donald 'Don' Blankenship, former chief executive officer of Massey Energy Co., left, and one of his attorneys Alex Macia, arrive at the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. The jury ended an eighth day of deliberations without a verdict after a juror became ill. Prosecutors allege that he coal executive plotted to ignore safety rules before a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29. Photographer: Emily Harger/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Blankenship landed in hot water during the campaign for questioning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s commitment to the U.S. by zeroing in on his marriage to the Taiwanese-born Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

He accused McConnell of creating "millions of jobs for China people" and said, “"While doing so, Mitch has gotten rich. In fact, his China family has given him tens of millions of dollars."

He later went on to defend his choice of words by saying, "We're confused on our staff as to how it can be racist when there's no mention of a race. There's no race."

"Races are negro, white caucasian, Hispanic, Asian. There's no mention of a race. I've never used a race word," he continued.

McConnell, along with President Trump, feared Blankenship would harm the GOP's chance at defeating the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, in the upcoming midterm elections and warned constituents against voting for him.

On Tuesday night, McConnell’s official Twitter account tweeted, “Thanks for playing, @DonBlankenship.”

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the projected GOP winner on Tuesday night will face off against Manchin in November.

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