Ex-con coal baron Don Blankenship has arguably hit a new low in his bid to face Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV), going after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) “China family” in a new ad with just days to go until the GOP primary.
“Swamp captain Mitch McConnell has created millions of jobs for China people. While doing so, Mitch has gotten rich. In fact, his China family has given him tens of millions of dollars,” Blankenship says without providing evidence in what could be his final ad of the primary.
The racially charged remarks attacking McConnell’s Chinese-American wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and her family are the latest escalation in the war between the deeply controversial Blankenship and the Senate majority leader.
Blankenship, who’s still on parole for his role in failing to prevent a 2010 mine disaster that killed 29 of his workers, has been under attack from McConnell’s allies, who believe for good reason he’d be a disastrous nominee for the party in a winnable race.
He’s responded with a string of nasty attacks on McConnell, calling him “Cocaine Mitch” because of a 2014 story that said drugs had been found on a shipping vessel owned by McConnell’s in-laws and accusing him of a conflict of interest because his father-in-law is “a wealthy China person,” comments he’s since defended.
The self-funding Blankenship has trailed Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) in recent polls ahead of the May 8 primary, but still has an outside shot of actually winning the nomination.
McConnell’s office pointed TPM to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and former McConnell staff when asked for a comment. They didn’t immediately respond.