May 8 (UPI) — A number of key primaries in four states Tuesday are expected to have a significant impact on November’s mid-term elections, for both major parties.
More than two dozen Democrats and Republicans in West Virginia are running for open congressional seats, but just eight will receive their party’s nomination Tuesday to run in the general election.
Polls suggest three GOP Senate candidates are in the lead — former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
President Donald Trump is co-endorsing both Morrisey and Jenkins.
The president has said says Blankenship, who was convicted of conspiracy to violate federal mine safety standards in 2015, can’t win and urged voters not to throw away their vote.
Trump has driven home his message by reminding Republicans of Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore, who was beaten by Democrat Doug Jones in December.
“Remember Alabama,” Trump tweeted.
A win for Blankenship could weaken the GOP’s chances to defeat Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, another vulnerable Democratic incumbent, in November.
In Ohio, Rep. Jim Renacci is widely expected to clinch the Republican nomination and face Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown in the fall. Renacci was in the race for governor, but switched after being asked by the Trump administration to run for the Senate instead.
Tuesday, Renacci faces challenger and Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons. Trump was in northern Ohio last weekend urging residents to vote Renacci.
Whoever wins the Republican nomination is likely to face an uphill battle against Brown, a progressive who has so far polled well.
In Indiana, U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita will battle businessman Mike Braun for the GOP nomination, with the winner taking on incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in November.
The Indiana primary was initially a two-person race between Messer and Rokita, until Braun entered the race.
Also vying for a House seat in Indiana is Vice President Mike Pence’s older brother, Greg, who’s running for the GOP nomination in the 6th district. Greg Pence served in the House from 2001-2013.
In North Carolina, Rep. Robert Pittenger again faces Republican challenger Mark Harris. The two faced off two years ago in a race Harris nearly won. A conservative Baptist pastor, he lost by just 134 votes.
Both Pittenger and Harris have accused each other of being disloyal to Trump.