Politics

Jenkins Leads Morrisey in Internal Poll of West Virginia Primary

Republicans locked in competitive May 8 primary to take on Manchin

West Virginia Rep. Evan Jenkins led the Republican Senate primary field  in a poll commissioned by his campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

West Virginia Rep. Evan Jenkins led the primary field for the Republican nomination for Senate in an automated poll conducted earlier this month for his campaign.

Jenkins was ahead of his closest opponent, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, 33 percent to 25 percent among GOP primary voters in the six-way matchup, results of which were obtained first by Roll Call.

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who served time in prison for conspiring to violate mine safety standards, was at 18 percent in the poll. Blankenship has been running TV ads in the state. 

Three other candidates — Tom Willis, Jack Newbrough and Bo Copley — were each in the low single digits. Twelve percent of GOP primary voters were  undecided. Candidate filing closed Jan. 27. 

In a two-way matchup, Jenkins led Morrisey 42 percent to 36 percent with 22 percent of primary voters undecided. 

Harper Polling surveyed 500 Republican primary voters Feb. 5 to 6 via landlines phones using Interactive Voice Response. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Jenkins and Morrisey have been locked in one of the most competitive GOP primaries in the country, which is being complicated by Blankenship's candidacy.

Morrisey ended 2017 with $1.1 million in the bank, while Jenkins had $1.4 million, according to their campaigns. Both candidates have super PACs backing them.

35th PAC, which is backing Morrisey, had $470,000 at the end of 2017. Mountain State PAC, which supports Jenkins, had $50 at the end of the year. 

In a November poll commissioned by 35th PAC, Morrisey led Jenkins by 6 points, 40 percent to 34 percent, among likely primary voters, with 26 percent undecided. 

The winner of the May 8 primary will take on Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin III, who ended 2017 with $4.7 million in cash on hand. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the general election race a Toss-up

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