GOP infighting broke out again Monday as West Virginia Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship compared Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to a “Swamp captain” and “the Russians.”
As Politico reports, Blankenship, who owns a lot of coal in the state, was incarcerated for a year after a 2010 explosion in one of his mines and the GOP establishment has not embraced his Senate candidacy — reportedly campaigning against Blankenship with a series of attack ads purchased by a political action committee (PAC) named Mountain Family PAC.
Blankenship defines his war as one with McConnell, whom he encourages to stay in the Senate and “out of West Virginia.
“McConnell should not be in the U.S. Senate, let alone be the Republican Majority Leader. He is a Swamp captain,” reads a Monday statement from Blankenship. “The Russians and McConnell should both stop interfering with elections outside their jurisdictions.”
Blankenship said McConnell should be focused on fiscal responsibility in the federal government and not on how West Virginians vote. People in the state, he said, “want him to mind his own business and do his job. A job he has not done now for over 30 years. Balance the budget Mitch and stay out of West Virginia.”
Although the Republican Party has not taken credit for the attack ads, the PAC responsible has provided some hefty consulting fees to Republican-aligned firms. The company that produced the ads is no stranger to McConnell, having worked for the Kentucky sentator in the past.
Party brass are apparently worried that Blankenship could very well win the Republican nomination — and then lose to Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin a la the scenario that occurred in Alabama, when controversial judge Roy Moore won the nomination and lost to his Democratic opponent Doug Jones.