Morrisey takes early lead in WV Republican primary for U.S. Senate

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has taken an early lead as the votes come in for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

With 348 of 1,745 precincts reporting, Morrisey had 36 percent of the vote.

Congressman Evan Jenkins had 27 percent, and ex-coal boss Don Blankenship had 20 percent.

President Donald Trump tweeted at 6:53 a.m. Monday, urging primary voters to steer clear of Blankenship and instead vote for Morrisey or Congressman Jenkins.

That presidential intervention highlighted what a contentious, competitive and interesting race is unfolding for U.S. Senate.

Blankenship, who served a year in prison after being convicted on a mine safety conspiracy charge, alluded to polls that showed him ahead in the race. Morrisey publicly acknowledged that polls seemed to be tightening as Election Day drew near.

Morrisey, who had focused his criticism on Jenkins for most of the campaign focused it on Blankenship during the days leading up to Election Day.

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