Don Blankenship Loses Election But Celebrates End of Probation: 'I Get My Guns Back in a Day or Two'

Coal baron Don Blankenship has conceded defeat in Tuesday night's West Virginia Senate primary, much to the GOP's relief. As of nearly 10 p.m. Eastern, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was polling ahead of the pack of his five primary competitors.

Blankenship, who served a jail sentence after being convicted of violating safety standards in a deadly mine explosion that claimed 29 lives, built much of his campaign on slamming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he called "Cocaine Mitch," and claiming the mantle of a candidate who is, in his own words, "Trumpier than Trump."

Republicans warned that electing Blankenship in the primary could mean throwing the general election to Joe Manchin, one of the Senate's most vulnerable, and most conservative, Democrats.

Which is why Blankenship's surging popularity in the days approaching Tuesday's election threw the GOP into a panic, spurring President Donald Trump to weigh in on the contentious race.

"Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can't win the General Election in your State...No way!" Trump wrote in a Monday tweet to West Virginia voters. "Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!"

Blankenship brushed off the president's warning, insisting that he'd been misled by GOP leadership, which had made a flawed assessment of the race.

"The President is a very busy man and he doesn't know me, and he doesn't know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary," Blankenship said Monday. "The establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the U.S. Senate and promote the president's agenda."

Blankenship reportedly ceased campaigning on Tuesday, choosing instead to see a tailor who fit him for the suit he intended to wear to defeat Manchin in November. "I am going to need a new suit for the general," Blankenship said, according to his top aide, who shared the quote with CNN's Dan Merica.

Tuesday night wasn't a total wash for the ex-con though: At midnight, Blankenship's parole will expire. And earlier that night, when it already seemed he would lose, Blankenship was already seeing the bright side of his particular situation.

"I get my guns back in a day or two, so I am going to win either way tonight," he reportedly said.

don-blankenship
Coal baron and ex-convict Don Blakenship's surging popularity threw the GOP into a panic in the weeks approaching the election. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Don Blankenship Loses Election But Celebrates End of Probation: 'I Get My Guns Back in a Day or Two' | U.S.