Since the May 8th primary election that nominated Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) as Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D) November challenger, three polls have been released. The latest, from Gravis Marketing (5/22; 543 WV likely general election voters) puts the Senator in his strongest political position, leading Mr. Morrisey, 53-40%. Mr. Manchin’s internal poll, from the Global Strategy Group (5/13-16; 600 WV likely general election voters), found the incumbent’s advantage to be 50-42%. An immediate post-primary WPA Intelligence survey (5/10; 400 WV likely general election voters) actually posted Mr. Morrisey to a two-point edge, 46-44%. The West Virginia race will continue to be a top-tier Republican challenge campaign all the way to November.
Soon after the May 8th Republican primary, WPA Intelligence released data that posted Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) to a 46-44% slight lead over Sen. Joe Manchin (D), as we previously reported in the BIPAC Rundown. Yesterday, Sen. Manchin released his own poll that provides a much different perspective of the impending general election. According to the Senator’s internal Global Strategy Group survey (5/13-16; 600 WV likely voters), he leads Mr. Morrisey, 50-42%. But, the totals are a bit surprising when seeing Sen. Manchin receive support from only 70% of Democrats, but then picking up 29% of Republicans. While the Democratic support number appears low, the Republican defection figure seems high.
WPA Intelligence conducted the first West Virginia post-primary survey (5/10; 400 WV likely general election voters) for the new Joe Manchin-Patrick Morrisey US Senate race. According to the results, Attorney General Morrisey (R) notches a two-point, 46-44%, edge over Sen. Manchin (D). As predicted on primary night, this general election campaign, from a place where President Trump scored 69% of the vote but has also elected Mr. Manchin twice as both Governor and Senator, will go down to the political wire. Perhaps most troubling for Sen. Manchin, however, is his poor 30:59% favorability index among those polling respondents who declared themselves as undecided with regard to whom they will support in November.
With Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-Huntington) leaving the House for his unsuccessful Senate run, the voters in the open 3rd District chose nominees on Tuesday. The Republicans chose among seven candidates, and state House Majority Whip Carol Miller (R-Cabell County) won the nomination with just 25% of the vote. She will face state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) who grabbed 52% support in the Democratic primary over three others. Ms. Miller will begin the race as the favorite, but Sen. Ojeda could make this a competitive general election.
- Jim Ellis
Last night’s primaries in Indiana and West Virginia produced former state Representative and national distribution company owner Mike Braun and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey as Republican nominees in the two states, respectively. Mr. Braun now challenges first-term Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly (D), and AG Morrisey will pair with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) who is also seeking his second full term. Both campaigns look to quickly become toss-up contests.
US Senate candidate Don Blankenship, the former Massey Energy Company CEO and convicted felon who is on the ballot tonight for the Republican US Senate nomination, may not end his effort if he loses the primary tonight. Mr. Blankenship confirms that he would consider running as an Independent in the general election if, for instance, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey were to win the nomination. Mr. Blankenship said, according to CBS News and other media outlets, that “I (Blankenship) cannot let him (Morrisey) win because of the opioid connection and his Planned Parenthood connection.” A Blankenship independent candidacy would likely sway important votes away from Morrisey in a general election, which would be an obvious benefit to Sen. Joe Manchin (D) who is seeking a second full term.
Countering Rep. Evan Jenkins’ (R-Huntington) polling release that showed him leading the Republican primary race for the right to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D), Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) just went public with his own internal poll that shows very different results. According to his Osage Research survey (3/13; 500 WV likely Republican primary voters), it is Mr. Morrisey who has climbed into first place, leading former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship and Rep. Jenkins, 24-23-17%. At the beginning of last week, Mr. Jenkins released his Harper Polling survey that found him leading with 29% support versus 27 for Mr. Blankenship, and 19% for Attorney General Morrisey.
Mr. Blankenship, recently released from prison after being convicted of mine safety violations that helped lead to the deaths of 29 individuals in a mine disaster back in 2010, has been advertising heavily in the state. The early campaign spending largely accounts for his strong standing in both polls despite his negative personal situation. The Republican primary is May 8th and expects to become a testy affair.
In a Harper Polling survey released on Friday (2/5-6; 500 WV likely Republican primary voters via automated device for the Jenkins campaign), Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-Huntington) leads Attorney General Patrick Morrisey 33-25%, with convicted Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship still having 18% preference.
So far, Mr. Morrisey has a slight combined edge in fundraising. The two-term Attorney General has raised $1.4 million, while an unconnected Super PAC supporting his candidacy banked an additional $470,000. The campaign’s cash-on-hand total is $1.1 million. Rep. Jenkins raised $1.1 million and has $1.4 million in the bank counting a transfer from his House campaign account. The primary race will be decided May 8th, and promises to be a highly competitive campaign. The winner will then challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the general election.
Don Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy who was personally cited for safety violations in the deaths of 29 employees in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion. Mr. Blankenship was sentenced to a year in prison, but that notwithstanding, he has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to join the US Senate Republican primary. There, he will face Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and US Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-Huntington). It is likely he is running for office to have his chance of telling his side of the tragedy and hopefully, from his perspective, improve his moribund public image.
The two Republican candidates hoping to square off with Sen. Joe Manchin (D) next year just released their third quarter financials. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey posted raising $672,000 for the period between the end of June through September 30th, as compared to just $221,000 for Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-Huntington) during the same interval. The deficit is largely explained because Mr. Jenkins didn’t have to raise a great deal of early money. He transferred over $1.2 million from his House account thus giving him a substantial cash-on-hand advantage.
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