Republican strategist Karl Rove had strong words about the prospect of former coal baron Don Blankenship actually winning a three way Republican primary race for the chance to take on West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
During a panel discussion with Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Friday, Rove called Blankenship a “bigot,” referring to comments the former chairman and CEO of Massey Energy had made about the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling her a “wealthy China-person.”
“I hope that he is proved wrong, because the people of West Virginia are sensible, solid, down-to-earth Americans,” Rove said. “For a guy to go out there, think about this, this guy went to jail because he ran a company where he was in charge that deliberately flouted federal safety laws regarding mines and 29 miners died on his watch under his responsibility. He does not live in the same state, lives in Las Vegas. And he is going out there in a desperate attempt to win.”
“He has these outrageous charges that Mitch is — his wife is a ‘Chinaman,’ and tens of millions of dollars and so forth, this guy doesn’t even understand the political reality of the world,” continued Rove, who pointed out that the Chao family “was originally from Taiwan, which broke away from communist China in 1949, and they are American citizens and live in the United States and create jobs in America.”
“So let’s be clear,” said the former Bush adviser. “He is a bigot. He is a moron, and if he wins the Republican nomination kiss our chances goodbye of winning West Virginia.”
MacCallum asked Rove if he was “nervous” about what was “going to happen here on Tuesday night.”
“Yeah, I am,” responded Rove. After giving “full disclosure” that he supported Rep. Evan Jenkins in the three way race because he has the best chance to defeat Manchin, Rove held up one of his famous drawings depicting that, while Jenkins currently has a small lead at 25 percent, 38 percent of West Virginians are undecided.
Further, Blankenship has put $1.2 million of his own money into the race, according to Rove.
The panel, which also included conservative radio host Tammy Bruce, were all in agreement about the danger to GOP prospects if Blankenship manages to win the primary. While both other candidates poll significantly ahead of Manchin, Blankenship is the only candidate polling behind and would have a difficult time defeating the Democrat in a general election.
The panel also discussed Blankenship’s ad calling on West Virginians to “Ditch Cocaine Mitch for the sake of the kids,” which seemed to them like a parody.
Blankenship will face Rep. Evan Jenkins as well as state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in Tuesday’s West Virginia primary.