Transcript for On the West Virginia campaign trail where candidates are after the working class vote
series "18 for '18." I'd rather fight than eat. Reporter: At first glance former paratrooper Richard ogetta seems more G.I. Joe than polished politician. But watch him work the room at Jim's steak and spaghetti in Huntington, West Virginia. I'm a teacher. I just wanted to get my picture with you. Let's do it. Reporter: This is how voters are responding to a Democrat running for the house. In an area where more than 70% voted for trump. Tomorrow say test of their support. As voters here and in severalread red states go to the polls in the first big day of primary voting. You don't have to have a lot of money. Reporter: Democrats say their best bet to reclaim trump supporters is with candidates like ogetta. It's called getting back to the basics of being what a real Democrat is. Taking care of the working-class citizens. Reporter: He too voted for trump but says the president hasn't kept his word. What have you seen? It's been a circus. Put your cell phone away. Be president. Kick your kids out of the oval office. Surround yourself with real intelligence. Reporter: Now he's out to sway his fellow trump supporters. We're a big fan. Well, outstanding. Reporter: Go blue. You heard that. Big fans. Reporter: And it may just be working. He's not there in a suit, in a tie. He's there in a t-shirt and some khakis. You know, that's -- that's more relatable. You feel like he's one of you. Absolutely. I've got a lot of Republican voters that are voting for me. The Republican leadership in the state of West Virginia hates the ground that I walk on because I call them out. Reporter: But just a few hours away a controversial Republican is taking a page straight oust trump's playbook. We're now in one of the smallest counties in all of west Virginia on our way to meet one of the biggest names in this state. Don Blankenship. He's the former head of Massey energy. And he's now running in one of the most competitive senate races in the entire country using it to launch a comeback. Reporter: But he's also sparking outrage. Hi. I'm don Blankenship. Reporter: In his latest ad he made this racial remark about the family of Mitch Mcconnell's wife, transportation secretary Elaine Chao. Swamp captain Mitch Mcconnell has created millions of jobs for China people. In fact, his China family has given him tens of millions of dollars. Reporter: This only adding to Blankenship's already sullid reputation. I'm neither despicable, you know, mentally ill or a moron or a bigot. Reporter: He just served a year in prison, found guilty of conspiracy to willfully violate mandatory mine health and safety standards after a 2010 explosion at one of his company's mines killed 29 people. But he says he did nothing wrong and blames the government. Many voters we spoke with side with Blankenship. Hey, he stood up to those who were wanting to make a show trial for him. What do you want people to know about you? I want them to know that I'm probably the most honest person thafr ran for office, that I was put in prison on a fake prosecution that will be invalidated in the near future, that I did more for mine safety than anyone in the history of the mining industry. Reporter: Blankenship has been quick to defend the president. I think he's doing what he knows to do. Reporter: But the president doesn't feel the same about him. He's now urging voters not to support Blankenship. Today comparing him to failed Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore. Tweeting "Don Blankenship currently running for senate can't win the general election in your state. No way. Remember Alabama." Republicans in Washington are on edge, concerned that Blankenship could win tomorrow but not in November. And with a narrow one-seat majority in the senate that's a risk Republicans don't want to take. Voters here told us they're not waiting for any one politician or industry to save them. So we're now in beckly, would've before this is the heart of coal country. It's a part of the state that's lost a lot of jobs in recent years. Now it's kind of split. They're trying to salvage some coal jobs, bring back new ones-w but also try to find ways to innovate, to bring in new jobs. That was used to scoop the coal. Reporter: Byrd white, the county commissioner, tells us west virginians themselves are the state's best resource. Very talented people. They just need a chance. They just need a job. Reporter: That entrepreneurial spirit alive in this school, where former miners are trading coal for html coding. As the world around us expands, we need to expand. Bring in this technology. E html Billy jack buzzard now spends his days above ground, building websites for companies around the country for about the same pay. He says he doesn't miss the old family business. What has it meant for you to awful a sudden learn these new skills? It's amazing to learn that I don't have to rely on coal. I keep asking myself, I'm really getting paid to do this? Reporter: For "Nightline" I'm Mary Bruce in West Virginia.
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