Jeff Flake will 'certainly' contribute to Democrat Joe Manchin if controversial candidate Don Blankenship wins West Virginia GOP primary

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesJeff Flake.
  • Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said he would “certainly” contribute to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin if coal baron Don Blankenship wins the Republican primary on Tuesday.
  • Flake said President Trump’s condemnation of Blankenship did not go far enough.

WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said he will donate to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in the event that controversial coal baron Don Blankenship wins the GOP primary in West Virginia on Tuesday.

“I hope that [Blankenship] doesn’t get through the primary,” Flake told reporters on Monday. “But if he does, I think you’ll see a lot of Republicans making a contribution to Joe Manchin. I certainly will be.”

Flake added that he felt the same way about former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, an accused child molester, as he does about Blankenship, who served time in prison for his role in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 coal miners.

It would not be Flake’s first time donating to a Democrat in lieu of supporting a controversial Republican. During Alabama’s special election last year, Flake donated $US100 to Doug Jones, who ultimately won the race.

Flake also took issue with an ad cut by the Blankenship campaign using racial slurs against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife and family, who are of Chinese descent.

“You just don’t go there,” Flake said. “You just don’t.”

Flake also expressed deep dissatisfaction in President Donald Trump for not condemning Blankenship forcefully enough. Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning that Blankenship was too toxic of a candidate to win a general election. Flake said that candidates should be condemned for the content of their character, not just their political viability.

“You ought to condemn not just the loss of a seat but to say that somebody like this that expresses those kind of views should not be supported by Republicans,” Flake said.

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