In Trump country primary showdowns, both parties score critical wins

In Trump country primary showdowns, both parties score critical wins

In the closely watched West Virginia GOP Senate primary, former coal baron Don Blankenship, who was convicted of a misdemeanor for conspiring to violate mine safety regulations, roiled the race and garnered headlines with racially-tinged insults and sharp-tongued barbs. His intent was clear: piercing what he painted as the cloistered circles of the Republican establishment.

Ultimately, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey emerged the victor in the hotly-contested race.

Blankenship appeared to finish third.

On election night, Blankenship, who said he was "Trumpier than Trump," admitted he could not trump a Trump tweet.

"Perhaps, President Trump has been successful,” Blankenship said.

Still, Blankenship's fight might not be over.

Blankenship — who has said he would not support Morrisey as Republican Senate candidate — suggested that he might continue to play a role in the race against Morrisey and sitting Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from the sidelines, wherever that might be.

Over in Indiana, an acrimonious three-way race in the GOP Senate primary notable for its Trump lovefest ultimately saw a self-proclaimed “outsider” millionaire businessman nab the win.

Mike Braun navigated the GOP primary with an aggressive campaign funded almost entirely by almost $6 million of his own money.

In one ad, he strolled the streets toting cardboard figures of Republican congressman Rep. Todd Rokita and fellow GOP Rep. Luke Messer in identical suits challenging bystanders on whether they could tell the two apart.

For their part, Messer and Rokita sought to closely align their brands and messages with Trump.

An official from Messer's campaign offered this: “The man who has the most gold typically wins.”

An official from Rokita’s campaign agreed.

DeWine ran on an agenda in line with the president’s — like many of the Republicans who ran in the primaries Tuesday night from West Virginia, to Ohio, to Indiana.

Both DeWine and his opponent, Ohio’s Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, disavowed Kasich, who has been an avid critic of the presidents and publicized their allegiance to the president.

“You can't distance yourself from Donald Trump and win statewide today in America,” ABC News’ political analyst Matt Dowd said.

In North Carolina, Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger became the first sitting member of Congress this cycle to fall victim to a primary challenge. He lost the GOP primary in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District to local Baptist pastor Mark Harris.

The race largely hinged on Pittenger's vote in favor of the recent congressional spending bill, which Harris used to tie him to the "Washington swamp," a message that appears to have resonated with North Carolina voters.

Harris' victory also increases the likelihood that the district, which stretches from the suburbs east of Charlotte to the state's southeastern corner, is competitive in November.

McCready celebrated his victory Tuesday night, writing on Twitter, "Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we get back to work. I'm so honored to be your nominee. On to November."

And in a theme that has emerged this midterm season, the so-called "pink wave" continued to surge in an election year rocked by political sexual harassment scandals and the subsequent #MeToo movement.

Female candidates won nearly every Democratic primary in contested races on Tuesday.

There were 27 open Democratic House primaries and voters selected a female nominee in 17 of them, according to ABC News’ count. Eight of the candidates are black women, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University's "Gender Watch 2018".

Jeannine Lee Lake, the first African American to win a party nomination for Congress in Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, will face Republican Greg Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence, who held the seat for 12 years before being elected governor of the Hoosier State.

“We are excited. We are thankful. We are ready for the next step,” Lake, 48, tweeted.

ABC News' Arlette Saenz, Alisa Wiersema, Meridith McGraw, Cheyenne Haslett, Paola Chavez and Soo Rin Kim contributed to this report.

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