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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

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 125531

Reported Deaths: 2299
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin32544966
Ramsey13430347
Dakota9321134
Anoka8154148
Stearns544336
Washington530567
Scott320934
Olmsted308929
St. Louis268963
Wright229614
Nobles216416
Clay207343
Blue Earth19717
Carver17077
Rice15819
Kandiyohi15704
Sherburne156621
Mower149113
Winona119918
Lyon9286
Crow Wing91521
Waseca9119
Chisago8792
Benton8575
Beltrami7977
Otter Tail7726
Todd7323
Steele7242
Itasca68417
Nicollet68217
Freeborn6384
Morrison6296
Douglas6123
Martin58916
Le Sueur5855
McLeod5693
Watonwan5684
Goodhue51511
Pine5110
Becker5033
Polk5024
Isanti4953
Chippewa3973
Carlton3861
Dodge3660
Mille Lacs36010
Hubbard3352
Pipestone32816
Wabasha3270
Cass3205
Meeker3113
Rock3011
Brown3003
Yellow Medicine2675
Cottonwood2640
Murray2533
Redwood25011
Fillmore2380
Sibley2383
Renville23011
Faribault2130
Roseau1990
Jackson1981
Wadena1980
Unassigned19553
Swift1921
Kanabec18910
Houston1811
Stevens1681
Lincoln1670
Pennington1651
Koochiching1624
Aitkin1562
Pope1480
Big Stone1280
Wilkin1254
Lac qui Parle1242
Lake1050
Mahnomen971
Norman970
Grant904
Marshall881
Clearwater840
Red Lake592
Traverse530
Lake of the Woods421
Kittson270
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 108620

Reported Deaths: 1562
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18087283
Woodbury685392
Johnson566030
Black Hawk526596
Linn5114127
Dubuque476354
Scott410537
Story387418
Dallas331043
Pottawattamie299844
Sioux230414
Buena Vista220412
Marshall193736
Webster172814
Plymouth154426
Wapello147562
Clinton136926
Muscatine136158
Crawford132112
Cerro Gordo126323
Des Moines12409
Warren11596
Carroll10388
Jasper103034
Henry9865
Marion93510
Tama90737
Lee8819
Wright6951
Delaware6898
Dickinson6877
Boone6819
Mahaska63723
Bremer6239
Washington61111
Harrison5868
Jackson5393
Benton5211
Lyon5177
Louisa49415
Clay4884
Hamilton4513
Winneshiek4479
Winnebago44517
Hardin4315
Poweshiek43011
Kossuth4280
Floyd41811
Jones4133
Buchanan4033
Emmet40214
Cedar3935
Iowa3848
Franklin37518
Guthrie37215
Sac3694
Cherokee3682
Page3620
Clayton3533
Shelby3511
Butler3472
Fayette3462
Madison3442
Cass3402
Mills3391
Allamakee3358
Chickasaw3271
Clarke3163
Humboldt2993
Palo Alto2912
Hancock2864
Grundy2834
Calhoun2724
Howard2519
Osceola2480
Monroe24511
Mitchell2360
Monona2311
Taylor2252
Union2164
Pocahontas2112
Appanoose2063
Jefferson2031
Lucas1896
Fremont1821
Ida1792
Greene1740
Van Buren1622
Davis1584
Montgomery1585
Adair1431
Keokuk1421
Audubon1341
Worth1300
Decatur1290
Wayne1123
Ringgold822
Adams700
Unassigned50
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