But voters relegated Don Blankenship to third place and opted instead for state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Jeannine Lee Lake, the first African American to win a party nomination for Congress in Indiana's 6th Congressional District, will face Republican Greg Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence, who held the seat for 12 years before being elected governor of the Hoosier State. The incumbent easily won the Democratic primary as he seeks his second full six-year term in a race that's widely regarded as one of the best GOP takeover opportunities. Joe Manchin, the president's most dependable Democrat in the Senate, who cruised to an easy victory Tuesday over progressive primary challenger Paula Jean Swearengin to secure the Democratic nomination.
Fears about nominating a candidate outside the mainstream escalated in recent weeks, particularly in West Virginia. That might not change soon, considering the state's proximity to Washington and the Manchin-Morrisey race's implications for the next Congress.
Records show Manchin's campaign raised $4.5 million since the start of 2017.
Blankenship who has said that he was "Trumpier than [President Donald] Trump" was viewed as a potential problem for the GOP. Manchin's campaign has said he had more than 11,000 donors in the primary. "I'm not going to give away the game plan here, as much as I would love to", DeWine told reporters on Tuesday night, when he was asked to look ahead to the general-election campaign. Many in the GOP, including President Trump, drew comparisons between Blankenship and Judge Roy Moore, who lost a reliably Republican senate seat to Doug Jones (D), largely owing to allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls. A far more forceful intervention by Trump in the Republican primary in Alabama a year ago, when he travelled to the state and campaigned publicly for then Senator Luther Strange, failed to shift many voters, and Strange lost the primary to Roy Moore, who then lost the special election in December to Democrat Doug Jones.
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The stakes are high for a Republican Party bracing for major losses in this fall's midterm elections.
In West Virginia, the state's Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey won a closely watched U.S. Senate primary, defeating U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and former coal baron Don Blankenship.
Responding to Trump's tweet, Blankenship predicted on Monday that he would not only win the primary but that he would "beat Joe Manchin even without the support of the establishment".
In his Tuesday night victory speech, Morrisey invited the president to make frequent visits between now and November.
"I think I ran against some pretty tough competitors", Morrisey said.
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West Virginia and IN represent two of the Republican Party's best chances to bolster its Senate majority IN November.
He said he has a "good relationship" with the president and is always willing to work with him. The state's other senator, Shelley Capito, is a Republican who worked closely with the White House on rolling back environmental regulations to bolster coal.
Manchin at times has expressed frustration with partisan gridlock in Washington, including in 2016 when he weighed a campaign to return to the governor's office. McKinley ran unopposed in Tuesday's primary. One thing I would note is that, you know, we've been reading so many stories about this very big blue wave that is going to hit elections this fall that we've stopped looking at some of the contrary indications - the president's job approval slowly inching up, the generic ballot closing, the gap that we've had against - versus Democrats has been closing.
Morrisey said defeating his opponents required "very, very hard" work.
Morrisey deflected criticism of his past lobbying ties to the pharmaceutical industry and his roots in New Jersey, where he lost a 2000 congressional race.
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"This is the challenge of our time", said Morrisey.