Senate Candidate Says McConnell Has Conflict of Interest

A Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, saying that McConnell was soft on China and had conflicts of interest because his wife’s father is “a wealthy Chinaperson.”

McConnell is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao whose father owns a shipping company in China.

“I have an issue when the father-in-law is a wealthy Chinaperson,” GOP candidate Don Blankenship said on a West Virginia radio show.

“There’s a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China,” Blankenship said, adding that he believes that McConnell is “soft on China.” McConnell and other members of Congress “need to be more transparent about their business ties,” the candidate added.

Blankenship’s outburst came in response to a question he received about a political advertisement that has been accusing the former coal company executive of poisoning West Virginia water and making residents ill.  The ad was  produced by a political action committee with ties to McConnell.

Blankenship is also critical of McConnell for not supporting coal and the coal industry strongly enough, which is very important to the local economy.  “I never felt that he fought as hard for coal and energy in West Virginia and Kentucky as he should have,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship spent a year in prison for his role in mining explosion that claimed 29 lives in 2010 and is now considered an underdog in his attempt to represent West Virginia in the U.S. Senate.

McConnell is trying to influence the outcome of the West Virginia Republican senate primary and he wants Blankenship to lose to improve the GOP’s chances of picking up a seat currently held by a Democrat.  This of course has created bad feelings and led to Blankenship’s critical comments about McConnell.

Republicans are fearing a Democratic takeover of Congress and McConnell has even been feuding with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan over what strategy the party should pursue for the midterm elections.