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West Virginia GOP Senate candidate Don Blankenship responded to allegations of racial insensitivity and intentionally personal attacks on the family of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Blankenship, of Williamson, caused backlash when he referred to McConnell's father-in-law James Si-Cheng Chao as a "wealthy China person" who presented conflicts of interest for the Kentucky senator.

Martha MacCallum noted that Blankenship also referred to McConnell as "Cocaine Mitch" in an apparent reference to reporting that cocaine was found on a ship owned by Chao.

MacCallum added that, despite those situations, his performance in the Fox News debate on Tuesday evening may have bumped his poll numbers up by as many as eight points.

"To the extent that ["China person"] is a racial slur, I'm sorry, I don't see it," Blankenship said, considering the term as universal as calling someone an "Asian."

Blankenship said he disagreed with a column in the right-leaning Weekly Standard magazine that considered his bid for Senate to be similar to the failed campaigns of Sharron Angle in Nevada and Roy Moore in Alabama.

Blankenship dismissed advertisements that paint him as soft on environmental issues and ones that highlight his year in prison following the deaths of 29 miners employed by his former company.

"I know that I was falsely imprisoned," he said, saying that some legal documents called "302s" were withheld from his defense team during his trial.

He said the sitting Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, "has so much more baggage [that] he'll be easier to beat" than the Republican primary opponents.

Blankenship also said his conviction was not a product of his intent, but claimed Manchin's actions -- which he considered detrimental to West Virginia -- have been "intentional."


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