Thousands of people run for federal office every two years. Some are terrific. Most are so-so. And a chunk are bad.
Then there is Don Blankenship, the worst candidate in America.
Blankenship is running for the Republican US Senate nomination in West Virginia. He’s one of the three viable GOP candidates – Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrissey are the others – in next Tuesday’s primary. And he is an unmitigated disaster.
Don’t take my word for it! Here’s Donald Trump Jr. on Blankenship: “I hate to lose. So I’m gonna go out on a limb here and ask the people of West Virginia to make a wise decision and reject Blankenship! No more fumbles like Alabama. We need to win in November.”
How has Blankenship earned his title? Let’s count the ways.
1. He is a convicted criminal
In December 2015, Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, was convicted of conspiring to violate mine safety standards in connection with the 2010 explosion of the Upper Big Branch Mine, which killed 29 miners. He spent a year in federal prison – and was released in May 2017.
For his part, Blankenship has said he was the victim of a broad-scale conspiracy of Democratic politicians opposed to mines and mining.
2. He uses words like “Chinaperson” and “negro”
Last month, Blankenship referred to the father of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as a “wealthy Chinaperson.” In the ensuring controversy, he insisted that the term wasn’t racist – um, riiiiiiight – because he referred to himself as a West Virginia person.
In an ad released this week, Blankenship says this: “Swamp captain Mitch McConnell has created millions of jobs for China people. While doing so, Mitch has gotten rich,” he says. “In fact, his China family has given him tens of millions of dollars.”
In defending THAT ad, Blankenship told a reporter that “races are Negro, white Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian. There’s no mention of race. I’ve never used a race word.”
3. He has called McConnell “Cocaine Mitch”
In yet another TV ad, Blankenship refers to McConnell as “Cocaine Mitch.” He doesn’t explain why. In a news release that attempt to do that, his campaign said that McConnell’s “father-in-law founded and owns a large Chinese shipping company has given Mitch and his wife millions of dollars over the years. The company was implicated recently in smuggling cocaine from Colombia to Europe, hidden aboard a company ship carrying foreign coal was $7 million dollars of cocaine.”
I say again: Riiiiiiight.
4. He may be the least charismatic candidate ever
Blankenship, for reasons totally unclear to me, has made the decision to run a series of ads in which he is talking directly to the camera. I am not sure what the “exact right word is for the absolute and total opposite of charisma” but I am certain its living embodiment is in Don Blankenship.
I mean, check this out:
And, if you really want to torture yourself, here are more of Blankenship’s videos. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The production values of the ads are sub-“Wayne’s World.”
Blankenship isn’t likely to win on Tuesday. (If he does, Sen. Joe Manchin will be on the glide path to re-election.) But, even if he loses Tuesday, Blankenship will have won one thing: The worst candidate in America.