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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Blankenship won the debate

Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum of Fox News did an admirable job in the network's West Virginia Republican Senate debate among Don Blankenship, Congressman Evan Jenkins, and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The candidates were well-rehearsed with well-staffed answers.

Baier and MacCallum also did their homework and asked tough questions about Blankenship's criminal record and mansion in Nevada, about Jenkins switching parties three times, and about Morrisey's lobbyist ties.

However, they have answered these questions before.

I would dismiss two of the questions as irrelevant. Blankenship may have a house in Nevada but he is a West Virginian regardless. And Jenkins became a Democrat to get elected to the Legislature to mitigate the damage by liberals. Many people did.

But Blankenship's criminal record cannot be eradicated even with a pardon because he bears some responsibility for the deaths of 29 men.

And Morrisey's lobbying ties do matter. He is not running for an administrative post this time but rather a legislative position.

Morrisey kept attacking Jenkins. But when Jenkins pointed out Morrisey's wife is a lobbyist whose firm worked for Planned Parenthood, he protested that you don't go after family members.

So it was wrong to go after Bill Clinton in 2016?

One of the best moments came when Baier asked them to raise their hands if they would support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. None did.

But Jenkins left the door open. He came off as too smooth a politician.

Baier showed the "Ditch Mitch" cap that Blankenship wanted to wear in the debate. That amused me.

And Baier asked about the Mueller investigation. Morrisey and Jenkins said it must end. Blankenship used it to address his own prosecution, which he claims was wrongly conducted.

This points out that the side effect to the Mueller investigation is that it undermines people's faith in other prosecutions, including the conviction of Martha Stewart.

My scorecard had Blankenship well ahead, 50 minutes into the debate. He was succinct and confident. Self-funded, he has not had to accept or solicit donations. Plus he noted that he donated his own money to conservative causes.

As the final segment began, Jenkins scored by pointing out to Fox News that it had the wrong bumper music. He said "Rocky Top" is Tennessee's song. In West Virginia, it's "Country Roads."

That seemed to energize and animate him. His closing remarks were focused and sharp. I learned his oldest son is a Marine. That shouldn't make a difference. It does.

In the wrap-up, Wheeling's own Chris Stirewalt of Fox News said Blankenship's answers were the most substantive.

I agree. I have no doubt that Blankenship won the debate.

But politicos say debates cannot win an election, they can only lose them. No one lost this debate.

In the end, Blankenship was the Trump Conservative, Morrisey the Tea Party Conservative, and Jenkins the West Virginia Conservative.

I jumped aboard the Trump Train in September 2015 after a reader pointed me in the direction of a blog by Dilbert creator Scott Adams, which sealed the deal by pointing out Trump had the best chance of defeating Hillary.

Winning matters. I know all of the three of them stand with President Trump.

That's not the question. The question is who has the best chance of ousting Joe Manchin?

I say Jenkins has the best chance because his defeat of 19-term Congressman Nick Joe Rahall in the most Democratic district showed he can get the soft Democratic votes who will decide the election.

And it was a 10-point win.

Against an incumbent who had never lost a race in 38 tries (counting the primaries).

We still have six days left before voting. I get the feeling a shoe or two will drop. This may be the best Republican primary in my 37 years in this state.


  1. Definitely, Blankenship. I’m voting for him as of this morning. He just seems to be the Trumpiest of the 3. But you’re right, all of them are worthy opponents for Status Quo Joe. And you’re also right, Bret and Martha did a helluva job with the reins. An excellent debate.

    1. Don - you missed the most telling question of the night. Martha MacCallum asked: would you support legislation that would protect Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump?

      None of the three gave a yes or no answer. All three just blabbed "end the investigation now" even as MacCallum pressed for a yes or no reply. That was quite telling.

  2. Who's McConnell backing? Vote for one of the other guys.

    1. After Blankenship referred to McConnell as "cocaine Mitch" it's not hard to see why McConnell is backing a Republican PAC running negative tv ads against Blankenship.

  3. Whoever wins the primary will be savaged by the media and Manchin. Whoever is the best to fight back ala PDJT should be considered when voting.

  4. Don,
    "...and Jenkins the West Virginia Conservative." Out of curiosity, what exactly do you define as a West Virginia Conservative?

    1. A fellow orwoman who puts God first, family second, state third. Willing to compromise on issues but not principles. And wiling to do what ittakes to win.

    2. Let's see how President Dennison stacks up to being a West Virginia Conservative.

      God first: President Dennison does not attend any worship services nor does he profess any love or fear of God and never invokes the name of Christ.
      Family second: Three marriages and screws porn stars and Playboy models right after his wife gives birth to their child
      State third: Has broken the Secret Service budget to funnel millions of dollars into his hotel properties.
      Willing to compromise: Finally, a category that describes President Dennison. He said he was going to have Mexico pay for a border wall; declare China a currency manipulator; appoint a special prosecutor to indict Hillary; bring back coal mining jobs to West Virginia. Yep, he has compromised on those.
      Willing to do what it takes to win: Another win for President Dennison. Of course, he needed Putin's help.

    3. I wouldn't say you're a snake. I'd say your father was the sort of guy who would f*** a snake if somebody held it down for him, and you are the progeny.

  5. I finally listened to the debate this morning and re-read this article and comments. All 3 men did well. I think all 3 are good choices. Who's the best? I've met Patrick and I'm a transplant to WV and I love the people here. I voted for Jenkins. Blankenship is the least swampy of the 3. I have to do more research on each man and it's going to be a hard choice now... JPerry