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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (KDKA) — Republican millionaire Don Blankenship conceded defeat late Tuesday night in the West Virginia Republican U.S. Senate Primary.
He was defeated by state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The Senate race attracted national attention because of President Donald Trump’s involvement.
Election officials said early voter turnout was heavy, with more than 70,000 early votes cast statewide.
At the polling place in Weirton High School, Sherry Linville said she got out of work early at the Weirton Medical Center, so she cast her vote.
“Coal mining is a big deal in West Virginia, some has come back downstate, but not in this area,” Linville said.
Other West Virginians also weighed in on the national attention the West Virginia Primary was receiving.
After casting her vote, Sue Gresko said, “I’m not surprised, not surprised at all [by voter turnout]. It’s an indication people are looking for change.”
Lisa Washington’s Report:
“I think every election we have is important,” David Board said. “Everybody wants to see good things come to this state. We try to get the good people to make those things happen.”
Blankenship got most of the national media coverage, but as the votes were tallied Tuesday night, he consistently trailed two other Republican candidates. Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy. He spent a year in prison because of a coal mine disaster eight years ago that claimed more than two dozen lives.
- RELATED STORY: Trump Urges W.Va. Voters To Reject Blankenship, Who Calls Himself ‘Trumpier Than Trump’
On Monday, President Trump tweeted that Blankenship could not win the general election in the fall, if he came out on top in the Primary. Trump urged people to vote for either one of two other Republican candidates who were in the race, including Morrisey and Congressman Evan Jenkins.
Morrisey will now oppose incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III in the November election.