GOP Senate hopeful Don Blankenship defends calling Mitch McConnell 'cocaine Mitch'

Don Blankenship, a Republican candidate for US Senate in West Virginia, is defending an ad his campaign released Mond...

Posted: May 2, 2018 10:15 AM
Updated: May 2, 2018 10:15 AM

Don Blankenship, a Republican candidate for US Senate in West Virginia, is defending an ad his campaign released Monday in which he referred to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as "Cocaine Mitch."

In a press release on Tuesday, Blankenship's campaign claimed McConnell and his family have "extensive ties" to China before elaborating on the reasoning behind the ad.

"His father-in-law who founded and owns a large Chinese shipping company has given Mitch and his wife millions of dollars over the years. The company was implicated recently in smuggling cocaine from Colombia to Europe, hidden aboard a company ship carrying foreign coal was $7 million dollars of cocaine and that is why we've deemed him 'Cocaine Mitch,'" the press release reads.

James Chao, McConnell's father-in-law, was born in China, but moved to the United States before starting the Foremost Group, a shipping company, in New York. The press release points to a 2014 article in The Nation that reported cocaine was found on a ship belonging to Chao's company.

A spokesman for McConnell referred a request for comment on the ad to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and did not respond to a request for comment on the press release. The NRSC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Blankenship campaign also did not immediately respond to a request comment.

In the ad released Monday, Blankenship said, "One of my goals as US senator will be to ditch Cocaine Mitch."

This isn't the first time that Blankenship has attacked McConnell's family. Last month, the he referred to McConnell's father-in-law as "a wealthy Chinaperson," saying, "I have an issue when the father-in-law is a wealthy Chinaperson and there's a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China."

McConnell, who is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, later told Fox News, "My father-in-law is an American who lives in New York. I don't have any comment about ridiculous observations like that."

Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to McConnell, tweeted, "this candidate is as contemptible a human being as you will find," in response to those remarks.

Blankenship, a former coal executive who served a year in prison stemming from a 2010 mine explosion, is running against Republican Representative Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the West Virginia Senate Republican primary, which will take place next week.

A recent Fox News poll showed Blankenship lagging behind Jenkins and Morrisey. The winner of the primary will face off against Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin in the general election.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 155597

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31877528
Washington21211212
Marion18468285
Clackamas13380175
Lane10258126
Jackson8395112
Umatilla765982
Deschutes595259
Yamhill378364
Linn359056
Malheur335158
Polk306442
Klamath279155
Douglas247454
Benton234416
Josephine234050
Jefferson195828
Coos149119
Union128419
Columbia126521
Wasco122126
Lincoln113220
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4296
Tillamook4142
Lake3766
Harney2736
Grant2231
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3566914

Reported Deaths: 52158
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119192321435
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2866072874
Orange2612203917
San Diego2600913284
Santa Clara1106211777
Kern102627827
Fresno953931443
Sacramento932811472
Alameda806681242
Ventura77623844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62248681
Stanislaus56132946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38998515
San Francisco34260412
Santa Barbara31805411
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28141298
Imperial26903591
Kings21955218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15467209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12834185
Shasta10985174
Butte10962160
El Dorado9095100
Napa903869
Sutter884597
San Benito576759
Yuba573337
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada396074
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador346341
Humboldt318033
Lake315641
Glenn222523
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 49°
Brookings
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 41°
Medford
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 49°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 49°
Klamath Falls
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 30°
Very mild start to March
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events