Don Blankenship, President Trump, Mary Bruce discussed on Start Here
It's the closest thing we have had to a Super Tuesday this year congressional primaries in four states, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana and West. Virginia were crowded. Republican field has attracted the attention of even President Trump and his family president said he is worried that former coal executive Don Blankenship could win the Republican primary. That could be a problem. He says, because he could lose a very winnable seat. MAry Bruce is ABC senior congressional correspondent. She's a stone's throw away from the capitol right now and MAry. Let's start with Don Blankenship. You've spoken to him one on one. Does he want people to know about? You know that the improv the most honest person that ever ran for office what is more damaging for him right now, is it that he is a year and a half out of federal prison, or is it that he refuses to stop saying the word China person? Yeah. Take your pick there. Certainly several things that are pretty controversial about Don Blankenship. And what's so remarkable right now is that you have a Republican Senate candidate is putting his own or. On edge so much. You have Donald Trump, you know, who's known for his own fair amount of controversies on the campaign trail coming out now and essentially with an anti endorsement, urging voters not to support a candidate in his own party. And Don Blankenship is a candidate who is backed President Trump. This is not a Republican is running against the White House. He in fact, has said that he's Trump. He embraces the president's agenda, is vowing to work with him, would be able to do more for him than he's going to be able to do so. But look when you look at his track record yet, there's a lot of questionable things. He spent a year in federal prison after a conviction related to mine safety. Following that twenty ten explosion at one of his minds that killed twenty nine people. He also has been going really hard against the Washington establishment making racial remarks in one of his latest ads about the family of Mitch McConnell about wife, well-kept to Mitch McConnell has created millions of. Jobs for China people while doing so Mitch has gotten rich, in fact, is China family has given him tens of millions of dollars, Mitch, all Republicans deeply concerned because they're afraid that if Blankenship wins the primary, that he will not be able to stand up to democrat, Joe Manchin come November and with just a very narrow one-seat majority in the Senate, that's not a risk that Republicans are willing to take. Let's turn now to ABC deputy political director, maryalice parks, because you and MAry Bruce have gone on road trips together to get a feel, feed these races, several states in play today, which of these other races are sticking out to you a number of reasons. You know, just to get back to that mansion Blankenship race really fast. We have to put that in context. What Mary's getting at is this idea that Republicans want to pick up seats and they think that in some of these red states where they have democratic senators, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, those are places where they could increase their Senate majority. They could add Republicans to their bench here in Washington, and that's what they're hoping to do. And that's what they're worried that Blankenship sort of puts at risk, and that's what makes this this voting really interesting as we're looking at all of these red states, four red states for states at all went for Trump, but we're so many Republican for so many Democrats excuse me are on the ballot in November, and they're defending their sort of blew seats in red states. And you've both come back from these trips and you've been like you guys, these voters do not care about Russia. They do not wanna talk about offensive, ethnic comments, Mariela what are the issues driving the conversation? Well, in West Virginia, we really just heard one thing on the minds of voters. Jobs. He's talking about putting coal miners back to work. I'm from, I'm from the coalfields West Virginia. Those are my friends. Those are my family. Let's get them back to work. They wanted to know which politicians would help bring some coal jobs back, but maybe more importantly, any new industry to the state, and it's those pocketbook issues that have really been driving voter conversations in other states as well in Ohio. A lot of talk about healthcare. The Republicans saying that they will roll back a Medicaid expansion, whereas the democratic candidates that are hoping to take the governor's house there, they want to expand Medicare and Medicaid, and even really talking about single payer style systems for Ohio, minimum wage jobs, healthcare, and the last. One I would say a lot of traction guns. In MAry, Bruce for people there with you on the mean streets of DC. Why do today's racist matter nationally? I think it's a thing that you've been hearing in the months and weeks leading up to these primaries and you're gonna keep hearing in the months and weeks to come. It is a gauge temperature. If you will a chance to read how the electorate in a lot of these red states in these Trump districts how the president is doing. I mean, maryalice and I spent a lot of time together the driving through West Virginia. And what's so interesting is that so many of the voters who we talked to said, you know, party doesn't really matter to them. They wanna politician is going to deliver make your choice matter, vote for politics, not whether it's a an. So you have this opportunity where you know in some cases, some Democrats may have an opportunity to to pull ahead you're, even though you have these deep red states are voters going to be looking at what the Trump agenda is look at what the White House is doing. So far what the president has and has not accomplished and they're going to be. Off of that record. And how are these candidates running compared to the president or running away from the president? Of course what members they are in the capital care about are the numbers who's going to have the most seats in November. The other big number here, how many times I could manage to say that word, MAry that is ABC senior congressional correspondent MAry, Bruce ABC deputy political director, maryalice parks. Thank you both. Take you. Thank you. And you can catch live streaming coverage of all that primary action tonight. Starting at seven pm eastern on ABC news dot com or the ABC news app. You might even see me there and you can listen on your local ABC radio station.