Blankenship projected to lose in West Virginia

CNN projects GOP candidate Don Blankenship will place third, behind Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Rep. Evan Jenkins in the race to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in the West Virginia primary.

Posted: May 9, 2018 5:20 PM
Updated: May 9, 2018 5:20 PM

A night Republicans feared would end in disaster in at least one state instead produced Senate nominees that party leaders are pleased to run against three vulnerable Democratic senators in November's midterm elections.

President Donald Trump welcomed the results in a Wednesday morning tweet, calling it a "great night" for the Republican Party.

In West Virginia, Don Blankenship -- the ex-convict and coal baron who had taken aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's "China family," in a reference to his wife and in-laws' heritage -- finished third behind Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who CNN has projected will win, and Rep. Evan Jenkins, the second-place finisher.

Blankenship's loss spared Republicans from painful decisions about whether to abandon their hopes of unseating Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

"It didn't work out," Blankenship told reporters Tuesday night in Charleston.

McConnell's allies gloated over the loss by Blankenship, who had also called him "Cocaine Mitch" in a reference to drugs being found aboard a ship owned by the company of the father of his wife, transportation secretary Elaine Chao.

His political aides tweeted an image of McConnell surrounded by a cloud of what appeared to be cocaine dust, along with the words: "Thanks for playing, Don."

Blankenship said Trump's Monday morning tweet urging West Virginia voters to reject him in favor of either Morrisey or Jenkins played a role in his loss.

In Indiana, businessman and former state representative Mike Braun, a self-funder who spent more than $5 million to run as a Washington outsider and political novice, bested two congressmen -- Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer.

He'll take on Sen. Joe Donnelly in a state where Trump won by 19 percentage points in the fall -- and where Trump is set to visit Thursday.

And in Ohio, Rep. Jim Renacci cruised to a victory that sets up a run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in the fall.

While all three Senate nominees have vulnerabilities -- there's much to explore in Braun's business history and his votes in the state legislature, Democrats said Tuesday night -- they are all candidates the GOP can embrace.

The biggest Republican loser of the night was actually on the House side: Rep. Robert Pittenger was ousted in a primary by pastor Mark Harris in North Carolina's 9th District, which stretches southeast of Charlotte.

Pittenger conceded the race, and now Harris will face Democrat Dan McCready -- a 34-year-old Marine veteran who party strategists see as fitting the Conor Lamb mold -- in a competitive contest in November.

In Indiana, Braun's win sets up one of the nation's marquee Senate races, with Donnelly looking like the Democratic incumbent who could be in the most jeopardy.

Braun began the race as a little-known figure outside his hometown of Jasper in rural southwestern Indiana. But he spent more than $5 million of his own money on the race, allowing him to dwarf his opponents, GOP Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, in television advertising.

Rokita and Messer relentlessly attacked Braun for his history of voting in Democratic primaries in a county where the party until recently held a firm grip on local offices. And his auto parts distribution business is certain to face scrutiny, particularly because Braun has criticized other candidates for backing free trade agreements.

But the 64-year-old Braun, who appeared at debates wearing a blue button-down shirt with sleeves rolled up, successfully introduced himself to voters as having built his own business while Messer and Rokita were climbing political ladders.

RELATED: Don Blankenship looks to send Trump a message with a primary win in West Virginia

Braun is an outsider compared with the two congressmen, but his campaign won praise from national Republican strategists, and the party is now poised to rally behind him against Donnelly, who is seen as perhaps the nation's most vulnerable Democratic senator in a state President Donald Trump won by 19 percentage points in 2016.

In southeastern Indiana's 6th District, meanwhile, Greg Pence -- the brother of Vice President Mike Pence -- won the primary for Messer's seat and now is the heavy favorite to win in the overwhelmingly Republican district.

In Ohio, Renacci held off self-funding businessman Mike Gibbons.

But the highest-profile races there were about replacing outgoing Gov. John Kasich.

On the Democratic side, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray bested former Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Meanwhile, Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine defeated Kasich's lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 37210

Reported Deaths: 1495
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Ramsey4777222
Stearns231219
Dakota224890
Anoka2155107
Nobles16616
Olmsted107615
Washington104840
Mower9322
Rice8277
Scott6844
Clay58037
Kandiyohi5661
Wright4535
Blue Earth4422
Todd4002
Carver3611
Lyon3052
Sherburne3035
Freeborn2890
Steele2231
Watonwan2150
Benton2123
St. Louis17415
Martin1615
Nicollet15512
Cottonwood1340
Goodhue1278
Winona12015
Crow Wing10412
Pine1030
Chisago971
Otter Tail921
Le Sueur911
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Chippewa761
Isanti650
Itasca6412
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Morrison591
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Jackson550
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Sibley532
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Fillmore270
Houston250
Swift211
Norman200
Wilkin203
Redwood170
Wadena150
Aitkin140
Big Stone140
Cass142
Kanabec141
Koochiching141
Marshall120
Grant100
Lincoln100
Pope100
Roseau100
Clearwater70
Mahnomen71
Lake60
Hubbard50
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 30173

Reported Deaths: 718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6275178
Woodbury320144
Black Hawk218058
Buena Vista170511
Linn123882
Johnson12318
Dallas122329
Marshall103519
Story7463
Pottawattamie71911
Scott70410
Wapello70230
Crawford6752
Muscatine62444
Dubuque60922
Sioux4610
Tama45829
Wright3771
Louisa36013
Jasper32117
Plymouth3134
Dickinson2592
Warren2581
Washington2349
Hamilton1871
Webster1702
Boone1421
Cerro Gordo1381
Clarke1272
Clay1270
Allamakee1264
Mahaska11517
Shelby1110
Clinton1041
Poweshiek1048
Pocahontas931
Carroll911
Bremer906
Des Moines862
Henry853
Franklin840
Cedar801
Taylor790
Emmet780
Cherokee751
Monona740
Floyd682
Marion680
Hardin650
Guthrie644
Sac630
Benton621
Jefferson580
Osceola580
Jones560
Harrison530
Humboldt531
Butler522
Buchanan511
Iowa510
Lee502
Monroe506
Hancock490
Calhoun482
Delaware481
Lyon400
Madison402
Clayton393
Davis391
Mills360
Palo Alto360
Winneshiek360
Grundy350
Fayette340
Mitchell340
Kossuth330
Lucas304
Greene280
Howard280
Chickasaw270
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Ida230
Cass210
Appanoose203
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Page200
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