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West Virginia Chairwoman says GOP will rally behind nominee

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – 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 sai “outside influences don’t go very far.”

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