- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 8, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The Latest on the primary election in West Virginia (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

Three incumbent Republican state senators in West Virginia have lost in primary elections.

On Tuesday, Rep. Bill Hamilton defeated Sen. Robert Karnes, Rollan Roberts ousted Sen. Lynne Arvon, and Eric Tarr beat Sen. Mark Drennan.

The intra-party statehouse contests set up November elections in which Republicans seek to protect a 22-12 Senate majority and 64-36 lead in the House.

Every incumbent was seeking re-election in the Senate, where 11 of 17 seats are currently Republican-held. Six Democratic races and six on the Republican side were contested Tuesday.

All 100 House seats are on the ballot, including 15 where a Republican lawmaker isn’t seeking re-election and four where a Democratic incumbent isn’t running again.

There are five House seats without a Democrat running and two without a Republican.


11 p.m.

State Delegate Carol Miller has emerged from a crowded field to win the Republican nomination for West Virginia’s 3rd District U.S. House seat.

Miller defeated six others on the GOP ballot Tuesday and moves on to the November general election. The 3rd District seat is being vacated by Republican Congressman Evan Jenkins, who ran for U.S. Senate.

Miller was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2006 and has been re-elected every two years after that.

Miller also is a bison farmer, small business owner and daughter of the late Ohio Congressman Samuel Devine. She raised the most money in the Republican field.

Others on the ballot were state delegates Rupie Phillips and Marty Gearheart, former Delegate Rick Snuffer, former state Republican Party chairman Conrad Lucas, Dr. Ayne Amjad of Beckley and Philip Payton of Milton.


10:30 p.m.

Talley Sergent has won the U.S. House 2nd District Democratic primary in West Virginia.

Sergent defeated Aaron Scheinberg on Tuesday and will meet Republican Congressman Alex Mooney in November. Mooney ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

Sergent is the former state presidential campaign director for Hillary Clinton in 2016. She lives in Charleston and works as a communications consultant, focused on serving nonprofits and foundations.

She wants to improve job opportunities and health care choices in the state along with preventing younger residents from becoming ensnared by drug addiction.


10:25 p.m.

West Virginia Congressman Evan Jenkins has conceded the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Before The Associated Press declared a winner in the race, Jenkins told a gathering of supporters Tuesday night that “it looks like it may be a little too far” to make up ground.

Jenkins had raised $1.5 million during his campaign yet was far outspent by both state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and former coal executive Don Blankenship.

Jenkins and Morrisey often clashed during debates. Morrisey had criticized Jenkins for his liberal background and his past stint as a Democrat. Jenkins switched to Republican before winning his seat in Congress in 2014.

Voters didn’t heed Jenkins‘ criticism of Morrisey’s New Jersey roots. Jenkins also continuously brought up Morrisey’s past lobbying ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


10:20 p.m.

State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has won a contentious Republican primary for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, beating convicted ex-coal executive Don Blankenship.

Morrisey also outdistanced Congressman Evan Jenkins and three others in Tuesday’s race.

Morrisey will face incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin in November. Both parties view the general election as key to Senate control for the next two years.

The primary became a test of President Trump’s clout. He came out strongly against Blankenship, who served prison time for a deadly mine disaster.

A two-term attorney general, Morrisey promoted his record of challenging policies under the administration of former President Barack Obama.

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.


10:15 p.m.

West Virginia Republican Don Blankenship is conceding the Republican Senate nomination but remaining defiant until the end.

Blankenship said Tuesday that he “didn’t get it done” and “failed West Virginians,” but he warned that “the Republican Party needs to be careful about being hijacked.”

Establishment Republicans and President Donald Trump warned voters not to back the former coal executive who spent time in federal prison for his role in a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 miners.

Blankenship tells a group of supporters that he still believes he was railroaded and mistreated by federal prosecutors.

The nomination still hasn’t been called between Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.


9:55 p.m.

West Virginia Republican Don Blankenship isn’t yet conceding his Senate primary bid, but he’s talking like a defeated candidate.

Incomplete returns show the former coal executive and federal ex-con running third behind Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Rep. Evan Jenkins. Incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin won the Democratic primary for his seat.

Blankenship adds that he has “no idea” whether he lost votes because of President Donald Trump’s tweet on Monday urging West Virginians to back either Morrisey or Jenkins.

The retired coal executive was released from prison last year for his role in a mine explosion that killed 29 men. More recently, he attacked the Asian heritage of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife.


9:50 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin says he looks forward to a “spirited” fall campaign and expects that President Donald Trump “will get involved” on behalf of his GOP opponent despite Manchin’s “good relationship” with the president.

Manchin coasted to the Democratic nomination Tuesday but remains a top Republican target given his state’s heavy GOP lean and overwhelming support for Trump.

The senator says he plans to campaign as he always has: a bipartisan problem solver who works “for West Virginians.”

Manchin told supporters at his Charleston campaign headquarters that the nation has “unfinished business” on affordable health care, infrastructure, taking care of veterans and helping working-class Americans like his state’s coal workers.

The Republican primary in West Virginia remains too close to call.


9:45 p.m.

State Sen. Richard Ojeda has defeated three other Democrats for the party’s nomination in the U.S. House 3rd District in West Virginia.

Ojeda beat state Delegate Shirley Love, Huntington bus service CEO Paul Davis and nurse Janice Hagerman in Tuesday’s primary.

The 3rd District seat is being vacated by Republican Congressman Evan Jenkins, who ran for U.S. Senate.

Ojeda became popular with state teachers for backing their efforts to win better pay and health benefits. Teachers ultimately won a 5 percent pay increase after a nine-day strike, and their success ignited similar teacher walkouts in other states.

The 3rd District stretches from the Ohio River through the southern coalfields to the Greenbrier Valley.


9:35 p.m.

Kendra Fershee has defeated two other Democrats in the U.S. House 1st District primary in West Virginia.

Fershee beat retired law firm CEO Ralph Baxter and Martinsburg attorney Tom Payne on Tuesday.

She will face Republican Congressman David McKinley in November. McKinley ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

Fershee is a West Virginia University law professor and an associate dean of academic affairs. She is running for public office for the first time.


8:25 p.m.

Incumbent Joe Manchin has won the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in West Virginia, easily defeating challenger Paula Jean Swearengin.

With Manchin’s win Tuesday, he’ll seek a second six-year term in November. He’ll try to hold onto his seat in a state that gave Republican President Donald Trump his largest margin of victory in 2016.

Both parties view November’s election as key to Senate control for the next two years.

Former Gov. Manchin has held elected office in West Virginia for the better part of three decades. He’s worked to cozy up to Trump and nurture a bipartisan brand.

Records show Manchin’s campaign raised $4.5 million since the start of 2017. That included more than $935,000 in the first three months this year, more than five times the cash raised by Swearengin during her campaign.


7:20 p.m.

Don Blankenship says President Donald Trump and others are falling for “fake news” in their decisions to oppose him in West Virginia’s hotly contested GOP Senate primary Tuesday.

Blankenship is among the top three Republican candidates vying to take on Sen. Joe Manchin. The Democratic incumbent is expected to coast in his own primary.

Blankenship is a former coal executive who spent time in federal prison for his role in a deadly mine explosion. Trump tweeted this week that there’s “no way” Blankenship can win in November, and national Republican groups have spent money trying to defeat him.

Washington Republicans are “falling victim to the same thing too many people fall for: fake news and false reports,” Blankenship says. He adds that “if they sat down with (him) for two hours they would be doing everything they could to elect (him).”


7 p.m.

West Virginia Senate hopeful Don Blankenship prefers not to speculate about how he’d handle a general election campaign if he falls short in the GOP primary.

He says “we’ll know in a few hours” if he will be the standard-bearer this fall or will have to decide whether to back one of his opponents.

The former coal executive is among the top three candidates but has drawn opposition from President Donald Trump and Washington Republicans who say he is too damaged to unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Blankenship spent time in federal prison for his role in a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners.

Blankenship did say he believes state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey would be the weakest Republican. He calls him weak on “social and moral issues like abortion.” He said Jenkins or himself would likely defeat Manchin.


5:10 p.m.

Cheryl Dolan of Alum Creek wants to see medical marijuana become available more quickly to help West Virginians with chronic health issues such as the back pain she suffers from.

So on Tuesday, Dolan voted for Sen. Richard Ojeda of Logan County in the 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic primary.

She appreciates the work that Ojeda did to advance a bill last year to make medical marijuana legal. A medical marijuana board has been working toward implementing the new law.

Dolan also says her daughter is a teacher and she appreciates what Ojeda did for them. Long before teachers went on strike in February, Ojeda strongly backed their efforts to win better pay and health benefits.

Teachers ultimately won a 5 percent pay raise after a nine-day strike, and their success ignited similar teacher walkouts in other states.


4:10 p.m.

West Virginia Republican Chairwoman Melody Potter says she expects GOP voters will rally behind whoever is nominated Tuesday night, and she downplayed concerns about ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, particularly from outside the state.

Blankenship is running in the GOP primary to challenge Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

Potter said Manchin no longer reflects his electorate, and Republicans are “in it to win it in November.”

Potter and the state party have not taken sides, but she agreed that outsider arguments remain potent in Republican primaries two years after Donald Trump quashed establishment favorites in the GOP nominating fight. She said, “People want to see someone who respects the Constitution and does what they say they’re going to do.” She added that, “Trump does that, so candidates like that will continue to do well.”

Asked specifically about Blankenship’s checkered past being a potential liability against Manchin, she recalled how 2016 played out and said “outside influences don’t go very far.”


2:35 p.m.

West Virginia voter Don Smith is eager to see Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin voted out of office.

The retiree from Alum Creek cast his ballot Tuesday in the Republican Senate primary, voting for GOP Congressman Evan Jenkins.

Smith says that years ago he asked then-Gov. Manchin to rescind the state’s motorcycle helmet law, and Smith says Manchin promised that he “would take care of it.” Smith says it never happened and he’s held a grudge against Manchin ever since.

Smith says, “Joe has got to go.”

The 65-year-old Smith says he likes Jenkins because, “I think he’s the only one who can put Joe Manchin out. That’s it.”

Even though Jenkins switched from Democrat to Republican before being elected to the U.S. House from the 3rd District in 2014, Smith says he has “no problem with somebody jumping parties now and then if they think it’s the right thing to do. He’s treated me good so far.”


2:20 p.m.

West Virginia elections officials are receiving scattered reports that some independent voters are being mistakenly told by poll workers that they cannot request a party ballot in the primary.

Under state law, independent voters can choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary.

Steve Adams is a spokesman for the West Virginia secretary of state’s office. He says such incidents have been reported Tuesday in Mingo, Logan and Kanawha (kuh-NAW) counties. He says voters who run into resistance at the polling place should contact their county clerk or the secretary of state’s office.

Adams says there have also been some issues with new touch-screen voting machines in Jefferson and Taylor counties. The machines print out a completed ballot, but some voters pull on the printed ballot before it’s done printing, making the accompanying bar code unreadable.

In those cases, Adams says the ballots must be hand counted, creating delays in vote counting.


12:50 p.m.

Longtime friends Pamela Phillips and Linda Iris Turley of Alum Creek voted together in the Democratic primary at an elementary school in Lincoln County in part to lend their support to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

Manchin faced Paula Jean Swearengin in Tuesday’s primary.

Turley says she’s not a huge fan of Manchin and would like him to challenge Republican President Donald Trump more often.

Turley says she doesn’t like Trump because “he loves chaos.” She would like to see Trump impeached and says “maybe the good Lord will answer my prayers.”

The pair says they’ll stick with Manchin in the fall campaign as well.


11:10 a.m.

Some voters are glad to be going to the ballot box because it means seeing fewer candidate advertisements - at least until the fall campaign starts heating up.

Cross Lanes retiree Wayne Sturgeon said after voting Tuesday in his hometown that he felt inundated with ads. He didn’t like the nature of them, saying they focused more on candidates attacking other candidates and less on a person’s own goals and issues.

Sturgeon voted in the Republican primary and says the 2nd Congressional District race was so uneventful that he couldn’t remember who he voted for.

He says that in the U.S. Senate race, one candidate who stayed focused on the issues was former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Sturgeon says Blankenship addressed the opioid crisis and producing more jobs in the state, “and I appreciated that.”

The 59-year-old Sturgeon also likes Blankenship because of his support for President Donald Trump. Sturgeon says he, too, likes Trump and it bothers him that incumbents are embracing the president now after ignoring or avoiding him during the 2016 election cycle.


3:15 a.m.

Two years after Donald Trump easily won West Virginia, voters are returning to the polls for the first time in one of his Republican strongholds.

Tuesday’s primary includes races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and the Legislature.

Congressman Evan Jenkins is among six candidates seeking the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. The ballot for his 3rd District House seat is packed with seven Republicans and four Democrats.

Among those joining Jenkins in the Senate race are Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin faces Paula Jean Swearengin on the Democratic side.

Three Democrats are seeking 1st District Republican Congressman David McKinley’s seat and two Democrats are hoping to face 2nd District incumbent Alex Mooney in the fall. McKinley and Mooney have no primary opposition.

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