U.S. Senate candidates focus on Southern W.Va. ahead of primary - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

U.S. Senate candidates focus on Southern W.Va. ahead of primary

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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) On the eve of perhaps the most watched Senate primary in the U.S. Monday, West Virginians woke up to a presidential tweet. 

"To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can't win the General Election in your State...No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!" 

During a campaign event in Mount Hope Monday, U.S. Senate candidate Don Blankenship, (R) West Virginia, responded to President Donald Trump's remarks. 

"We were disappointed. We were in contact with White House political advisers throughout the process and they assured us it wouldn't be a problem. Of course, it caught us off guard but it shows that Morrisey and Jenkins can't stand on their own feet." 

But when asked whether the tweet will affect his ability to work with the president if elected, Blankenship said "No, I work on the basis of policies not individuals. We've got to take care of America first." 

Congressman Evan Jenkins, (R) West Virginia, also made several stops in Beckley, responding to the President's endorsement of either a Jenkins or Morrisey run. 

"What President Trump essentially said is we need someone who can beat Joe Manchin. I'm the only one who can." 

A report by Politico over the weekend showed Blankenship with a slight lead over both Morrisey and Jenkins. According to Blankenship, some of his own polling shows a more promising lead. "Politico said we were slightly ahead. But I think we're ahead by as much as double digits." 

As they headed into the campaigns final hours Monday, both candidates were optimistic they have what it takes to beat incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in November. 

"We'll see how it turns out. I feel really good," said Rep. Jenkins. "I think there's just a lot of media hype about a really interesting race. But I feel great about the President giving us a shout out."

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