Blankenship Concedes, Morrisey Projected to Win West Virginia Showdown

May 09, 2018 - 4:16 am
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(CBS News) - CBS News has called the West Virginia Senate GOP primary race for the state's attorney general Patrick Morrisey. Moments earlier, Don Blankenship, the convicted ex-coal baron Washington Republicans feared might win, conceded.

"You're going to have a senator that works for all West Virginians," Morrisey said in his victory speech.

President Trump has urged Republicans in the state not to vote for Blankenship, citing his inability to win the general election in November, as the GOP looks to unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Blankenship cited Mr. Trump's tweet as perhaps the biggest factor in his loss. He came in third, behind both Morrisey and Evan Jenkins.

But West Virginia wasn't the only state with an important primary election Tuesday night. Businessman and self-described outsider Mike Braun won the GOP Senate primary in Indiana, besting Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.

Former chairman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray won the Democratic nomination for governor in Ohio. Mike DeWine won the Republican nomination in the state for the same seat. They will face off in November.

Follow live updates from earlier:

Morrisey gives victory speech

Morrisey's victory speech gave a preview for what the general election might look like.

Morrisey said the general election won't be one filled with personal attacks, but claimed Manchin has become a creature of Washington.

"You're going to have a senator that works for all West Virginians," Morrisey told his supporters.

But that doesn't mean things will be easy for Morrisey in the fall. He and his family moved to West Virginia in 2006, and was born in New York City.

Vice President Mike Pence congratulated Morrisey on Twitter.

McConnell trolls Blankenship

Mitch McConnell -- whom Blankenship has called "Cocaine Mitch" -- trolled Blankenship after his loss became clear. McConnell, in an image of him surrounded by White powder, tweeted, "Thanks for playing, @DonBlankenship."

The image of McConnell is essentially the same one used by Netflix to promote "Narcos," a show about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Blankenship tells supporters: "Don't feel sorry for me"

Blankenship took a moment to -- seemingly -- concede, acknowledging that he believes he has lost.

Blankenship attributed his loss, perhaps more than anything, to Mr. Trump's tweet urging people not to vote for him earlier this week. He also thanked supporters, and the media. Blankenship said he'll now have more time for his family and traveling to places like Paris.

"Don't feel sorry for me," Blankenship said.

Blankenship reflected on the opportunities he, as the child of a single mother, had growing up, mentioning a time he says he visited the White House.

"I learned more in the poor house and the big house than I learned in the other houses," he said.