Key GOP primary races will take place tonight in West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina that will feature plenty of “MAGA” candidates, reflecting how much President Donald Trump and his economic nationalist message have taken over the GOP.
Breitbart News Washington Editor Matt Boyle has a preview of the important contests in the four states that Trump carried in 2016.
In West Virginia, controversial candidate Don Blankenship may have a slight lead in the polls against West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey and former Democrat Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV). Trump has urged voters to vote for either Jenkins or Morrisey to not allow Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to keep his seat. But as Boyle pointed out, Morrissey would most likely be well ahead of Blankenship had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his allies had not thrown their support behind Jenkins. As Boyle noted, Jenkins did not switch his party affiliation until after Obama’s first term and supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2008. The race has dominated headlines as the media are priming to make Republicans answer for Blankenship should he win.
In Indiana, the three candidates running to challenge vulnerable Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in the fall have embraced Trump in what has been a nasty three-way scrum. Reps. Luke Messer (R-IN) and Todd Rokita (R-IN) are longtime rivals while businessman Mike Braun is the third candidate.
In Ohio’s GOP gubernatorial primary, Mary Taylor battles former Senator Mike DeWine. In Ohio’s GOP Senate primary, Trump has backed Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) against Mike Gibbons.
Polls close at 7:30 p.m. eastern time in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio. In Indiana, polls will close at 6 p.m. central time and eastern time.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News throughout the evening for live updates of all of the most important races. All times eastern.
Congrats @MorriseyWV on a great win tonight in West Virginia. It was a pleasure speaking with you and I look forward to spending some time with you between now and November. Great Job West Virginia. #WV #WVpol #MAGA
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 9, 2018
The Election Party at Patrick Morrisey HQ in Harper's Ferry, WV has turned into a Victory Party. pic.twitter.com/06mpYmcsgS
— Nicole D. Sganga (@NicoleSganga) May 9, 2018
McConnell gloats, but as Matt Boyle points out, his candidate Jenkins lost:
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) May 9, 2018
10:35 PM: AP calls race for pro-Trump Harris:
BREAKING: Incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger loses Republican primary in U.S. House race in North Carolina. Baptist pastor Mark Harris wins. @AP race call at 10:31 p.m. EDT. #Election2018 #APracecall pic.twitter.com/2xZNGJQFRl
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) May 9, 2018
— Jonathan Lowe (@JonathanUpdates) May 9, 2018
10:30 PM: AP calls race for Gonzalez over Hagan.
— toddporter (@toddporter) May 9, 2018
Fox projects that Patrick Morrissey will beat Congressman Evan Jenkins and former coal executive Don Blankenship in the WV GOP Senate primary to face Dem WV Sen Manchin this fall
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 9, 2018
BREAKING: Blankenship concedes election. Says he did his best to stand up for West Virginians. pic.twitter.com/vES18AQzNG
— WOWK/Alyssa Meisner (@wowkalyssa) May 9, 2018
— Peter Doocy (@pdoocy) May 9, 2018
9:53 PM: CNN Projects Blankenship will finish third in the WV GOP SEN Primary.
9:45 PM: Breitbart’s John Binder, from Ohio, says Hagan closing the gap:
With nearly 50 percent reporting, establishment-backed Anthony Gonzalez lowers with 53 percent and pro-Trump Christina Hagan climbs to 40 percent.
9:42: AP calls race for Walter Jones in North Carolina:
The AP has called #NC03 for Rep. Walter Jones, a thorn in the GOP establishment's side. Looks like the anti-Jones vote was perfectly split: he's winning 43-30-27.
— Nathaniel Rakich (@baseballot) May 9, 2018
Few politicians more surprisingly durable than Walter Jones (R) – Constituent Services https://t.co/CkuTk9NzHY
— Peter Hamby (@PeterHamby) May 9, 2018
Flashback from Breitbart’s Matt Boyle: Exclusive-Rep. Walter Jones Hammers Paul Ryan for Running ‘Closed Shop’ in Speaker’s Office:
As a registered lobbyist with Wisconsin roots steps up to challenge Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) in a primary later this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan is the one facing the fire for the GOP establishment’s anti-conservative behavior.
Jones, a key ally of President Donald Trump and a change-maker in the House of Representatives, is out with a pair of racy new radio ads ripping his lobbyist primary opponent for various contributions to things of the swamp in Washington—ads that rip Ryan too. Jones has perennially faced primary opponents backed by GOP establishment forces in Washington, DC, because of his aggressively anti-establishment style, but this new one—registered lobbyist Scott Dacey—is already drawing out long-simmering but seldom-mentioned divisions inside the House GOP conference.
9:28 PM: AP calls race (OH GOP SEN) for Renacci, whom Trump backed.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) May 9, 2018
9:20 PM: Plenty of Kasich staffers at DeWine victory party:
fwiw, there are at least half a dozen Kasich staffers here at DeWine party. Kasich backed Taylor but his staff and operatives largely were behind DeWine.
— Chrissie Thompson (@CThompsonENQ) May 9, 2018
9:17 PM: West Virginia:
As Breitbart’s Sean Moran points out, “West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey continues to lead at 35.1 percent of the vote, Rep. Evan Jenkins has 28.7 percent of the vote, and Don Blankenship has 20.1 percent of the vote.”
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) May 9, 2018
NBC is characterizing the WV race as follows: Don Blankenship is running in 3rd place in both the raw vote and in our models and not leading in any region of the state.
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) May 9, 2018
9:15 PM: Breitbart’s Ian Mason notes that pro-Trump challenger Harris still leads Pittenger with more than half of the votes in NC-9:
Half the vote is now in for the Republican Primary for North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District. Conservative challenger Mark Harris is ahead by a slim margin in his bid to unseat incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger. Harris has run a strongly pro-Trump campaign. He appeared on Breitbart News Sunday last month where he called Pittenger’s support for the omnibus spending bill “disgraceful.” Harris is now ahead by over 1,100 votes.
9:12 PM: From Breitbart’s John Binder in Ohio: “The Christina Hagan campaign says they are slowly closing the gap on establishment-backed Anthony Gonzalez as more Election Day results come in. The race is now at 56 percent for Gonzalez and 38 percent for Gonzalez.”
9:08 PM: Mike Braun vows to “send a message” to Sen. Donnelly (D-IN) and DC in November.
“This fall, we’re going to send a message to Senator Donnelly and the rest of Washington that politics shouldn’t be a career and if we want to change things we need to change the people we send there. I’m going there to get the job done and come back home, and the only people I’ll owe anything to is the voters of Indiana,” Braun said in a statement after securing the GOP nomination for Senate. “From the beginning our message has been pretty simple – we need more outsiders and less career politicians in Washington. More folks that have done something in the real world… Senator Donnelly is just another career politician who has spent nearly his entire career in politics and government. When he’s in Indiana he acts like one of us, but in Washington he votes against us, against President Trump and in lockstep with the Democrats.”
9:00 PM: Breitbart’s John Binder with an update on the Hagan campaign from Ohio:
With 39 of 516 precincts reporting, Christina Hagan comes in at 36 percent while Gonzalez continues leading with nearly 57 percent. Much of Gonzalez’s lead is due to his campaign’s large early vote effort, while Hagan has moved up in the polls as Election Day results come in.
8:56 PM: Indiana Senate:
— Trevor Shirley (@Trevor_Reports) May 9, 2018
— C.J. Miller (@CJMillerWIBC) May 9, 2018
Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund congratulates Mike Braun on his victory in the Indiana Republican Primary for U.S. Senate! #TeaParty
— Jenny Beth Martin (@jennybethm) May 9, 2018
8:50 PM: West Virginia Update:
With 31%, Morrisey has 38% (13,168), Jenkins 26% (8881), Blankenship 19% (6644) in #WVSen
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) May 9, 2018
In North Carolina, Breitbart’s Ian Mason notes: “Conservative Mark Harris is holding on to a slim lead over incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger in the Republican Primary for North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District. With 32 percent of the votes in, Harris is more than 800 votes ahead.”
8:30 PM: From Breitbart’s Ian Mason (pro-Trump challenger Harris still leading Pittenger):
With nine percent of precincts reporting, conservative challenger Mark Harris is leading incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger by more than 600 votes in the Republican Primary for North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District. Pittenger came under fire for his support for this year’s omnibus spending bill and once called President Trump’s call for a wall on the southern border a “euphemism.”
8:25 PM: NBC projects Mike Braun will win Indiana GOP Senate primary:
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) May 9, 2018
8:20 PM: From Breitbart’s Ian Mason:
Melanie Leneghan, a township trustee running on an explicitly pro-Trump platform is turning in an unexpectedly strong performance in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District Republican Primary. Early voting has her less than 100 votes down on Ohio State Senator Troy Balderson.
8:15 PM: Fox News calls race for Mike DeWine–looks like he’ll face off against Democrat Richard Cordray in the fall to replace Gov. John Kasich.
AP declares Mike DeWine winner of GOP nomination for Ohio Governor. Waiting in Columbus for victory speech. Will face Democrat Richard Cordray in November. Winner takes over from term-limited John Kasich. @WCPO pic.twitter.com/8hLM5Fg8JS
— Tom Mckee WCPO (@TMckeeWCPO) May 9, 2018
8:10 PM: From Breitbart’s John Binder in Ohio:
Hagan’s campaign is looking to make up for their trailing in early voting results with election day enthusiasm from a national media blitz they conducted this past week.
Establishment Ohio gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine is leading conservative Mary Taylor in early voting by about 30 percent. Taylor’s campaign has hinted that election day enthusiasm is on their side.
Christina Hagan’s anti-establishment campaign team continues to say that their strategy is all about their ground game and getting out the vote on Election Day. People close to the campaign tell me this race between Hagan and her establishment opponent Anthony Gonzalez will be extremely close.
Breitbart’s Ian Mason notes that the Gonzalez campaign focused on early-vote turnout and has a 2,400 vote lead.
7:55 PM: Early Results from West Virginia:
Initial election results out of WV- 2 counties, early votes (Monongalia & Jefferson) Morrisey 55% Jenkins 17% Blankenship 14%
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) May 8, 2018
7:52: PM: Indiana Update from Breitbart’s Sean Moran:
Businessman Mike Braun leads the Indiana Republican primary at 41.5 percent of the vote, Rep. Luke Messer with 29.3 percent of the vote, and Todd Rokita with 29.1 percent of the vote, with 21.5 percent of precincts reporting their results.
In Ohio, Cordray and DeWine have early leads:
Blowout in Ohio Gov. Cordray up by 36! points! over Kucinich with 100k votes in. Looks like he'll face DeWine who is up 33 points with 85k per the Sec of State.
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) May 8, 2018
7:50 PM: NORTH CAROLINA: Pro-Trump challenger Harris with early vote lead.
Early Upset Alert in NC9 GOP primary – as Rep Robert Pittenger R-NC trails in the early vote pic.twitter.com/DWf1BWRU2o
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) May 8, 2018
7:45 PM: Breitbart’s John Binder from Ohio:
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is expected to lead his conservative challenger Mary Taylor, but insiders tell me the momentum is with Taylor in the days leading up to the primary election. DeWine has attempted to align himself with President Trump, but his record of supporting amnesty and promoting mass legal immigration in Congress has plagued him in the race.
7:40 PM: West Virginia Senate:
West Virginia voter who says he lost three cousins in mine disaster tied to Don Blankenship tells @TomLlamasABC he's voting for the coal baron anyway.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 8, 2018
— Cristiano Lima (@viaCristiano) May 8, 2018
7:30 PM: Breitbart’s John Binder from Ohio:
Here in Ohio’s 16th District, Christina Hagan’s campaign has been working the field. Insiders tell me Hagan needs to win Election Day voters in order to make up for the lead that her establishment-backed opponent Anthony Gonzalez is likely to have in early voting in the district. Ohio’s liberal early voting rules allow for voters to vote for nearly a month before the actual election.
Christina Hagan’s “America First” campaign has been outspent 3-to-1 by Gonzalez’s Chamber of Commerce-backed campaign. In total, there’s been more than a million dollars spent against Hagan by corporate donors and the Ohio Republican establishment.
Beautiful day today and awesome conversations with people at the polls.
— Christina Hagan (@RepHagan) May 8, 2018
7:28 PM: INDIANA:
BREAKING: INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Greg Pence wins GOP nomination for Indiana congressional seat once held by brother, Vice President Mike Pence.
— Stephen Ohlemacher (@stephenatap) May 8, 2018
Braun also with an early lead, per the AP:
— POLITICO (@politico) May 8, 2018
7 PM: All polls in Indiana now closed:
Vulnerable Dem. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), who ran unopposed, issues a “victory” statement, claims “Hoosiers in every corner of the state showed today that they’re fired up to keep Joe Donnelly in the Senate.”
I’m at the Rokita party and so is the controversial “Endorsed by Trump/Pence (2016 Indiana Team Leaders)” sign. pic.twitter.com/z53lVZp7yP
— James Briggs (@JamesEBriggs) May 8, 2018
— Todd Rokita (@ToddRokitaIN) May 8, 2018
— Luke Messer (@LukeMesserIN) May 8, 2018
— Mike Braun (@braun4indiana) May 8, 2018
6:55 PM: Polls close in Ohio at 7:30 PM ET:
Polls are about to close in about an hour. Here's a look at the voter turnout in Ohio since 2000. Note that the last gubernatorial election was essentially uncontested for Dems and GOP… https://t.co/6DNF6VleSy pic.twitter.com/SsO7uThQiA
— Andy Chow (@andy_chow) May 8, 2018
6:50 PM: McConnell eyeing West Virginia closely, but he could have avoided his Blankenship problem has his team not supported Jenkins. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), always looking for a way to be the Republican who is liked by the media, gets out of the gate first and blames Trump for Blankenship and says he’ll donate to Manchin if Blankenship pulls off the victory.
.@Kasie: Are the ads that Don Blankenship is running in the West Viriginia race racist?
Sen. McConnell: “Well, we’re going to find out what happens in West Virginia tonight, and I may have more to say about that tomorrow.” pic.twitter.com/uOEjwyEL3l
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 8, 2018
6:45 PM: May say something about Mike Braun.
Indiana Republican Errol Spears says he voted for businessman Mike Braun in the three-way GOP Senate primary but may cast his ballot for Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly in November. pic.twitter.com/wENRCgkIQh
— AP Central U.S. (@APCentralRegion) May 8, 2018
6:36 PM: Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor looks for an upset tonight:
I voted with my family in Green this morning. I encourage all Ohioans to get out and vote today for the Taylor/Estruth ticket. Real conservatives who will stand up for your values. pic.twitter.com/6zzu9MLRJ9
— Mary Taylor (@MaryTaylorOH) May 8, 2018
6:35 PM: Don Blankenship, who has been blasting McConnell’s “China family” while Blankenship reportedly considering becoming a Chinese citizen in the 1990s, has been angry after Trump asked West Virginians not to vote for him. He told CNN that Trump “will learn a lesson” if he wins and threatened to challenge Trump in a primary if Trump gets in his way.
To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State…No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
Blankenship has been telling voters that he is “Trumpier than Trump” even though he has not been talking about economic nationalism for twenty years like Trump had before he decided to run for the presidency.
“He will learn a lesson if I win,” Blankenship reportedly told CNN today. “You shouldn’t blindly go out and endorse or cast doubts or favoritism on anybody unless you actually look at their record and not depend on the people who are running the swamp you are trying to drain.”
According to an interview he did with the New Yorker of all outlets:
We exchanged business cards. He told me to hold on to his for when he’s President. “If Trump gets in my way, I’ll just run against him,” he said.