Voting signs line the sidewalk at the Durham County Library North Regional in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. North Carolina voters are choosing their parties' nominees Tuesday in dozens of legislative and congressional primary races congested with contestants who were spurred by strong feelings about President Donald Trump or their state's redistricting struggles. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The Latest: Polls close in 4 states with primaries Tuesday

May 08, 2018 - 7:58 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Tuesday's primaries in four states (all times local):

7:55 p.m.

Polls have closed in West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina.

All four states voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, and their primary races Tuesday are offering some insight into Republican voters' mood two years later.

In West Virginia, ex-coal mining executive Don Blankenship is running on a promise to upend the establishment, much like Trump. His bid is making Washington Republicans nervous. Blankenship served time in prison for his role in a 2010 mining explosion, and he has used racially charged language in his advertising. Republicans worry Blankenship would lose a race against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November.

Voters in Indiana will chose from three Republicans vying to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly. In Ohio, voters will nominate candidates for governor and Senate.


7:20 p.m.

Greg Pence has won the Republican primary for an Indiana congressional seat his younger brother, Vice President Mike Pence, once held for a dozen years.

He defeated four others Tuesday in the 6th District race, including Muncie businessman Jonathan Lamb. He'd argued that Greg Pence merely relied on his prominent name and dodged debates.

Pence raised nearly $1.2 million for his campaign thanks largely to the support of his brother, pro-Trump groups and top Republicans. Lamb has loaned himself $800,000.

Pence is a Marine veteran and owner of two antique malls who once ran the now-bankrupt chain of Tobacco Road convenience stores.

He'll be the favorite to win in November for the seat left open after Republican Rep. Luke Messer decided to give it up to run for Senate.


7:15 p.m.

West Virginia Senate hopeful Don Blankenship prefers not to speculate about how he'd handle the general election campaign if he falls short in the GOP primary.

He said Tuesday that "we'll know in a few hours" whether he will be the standard-bearer this fall or have to decide whether to back one of his opponents.

The former coal executive is among the top three candidates but has drawn fire from President Donald Trump and Washington Republicans who say he is too damaged to unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Blankenship spent time in prison for his role in a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners.

Blankenship did say that he believes state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey would be the weakest Republican. He says congressman Evan Jenkins or himself would likely defeat Manchin.


7:05 p.m.

West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship says that President Donald Trump is getting bad advice and that he and others are falling for "fake news" in their decisions to oppose him in his hotly contested GOP primary.

Blankenship is among the top three Republican candidates vying to take on Sen. Joe Manchin. The Democratic incumbent is expected to coast in his own primary Tuesday.

Blankenship is a former coal executive who spent time in federal prison for his role in a deadly mine explosion. Trump tweeted this week that there's "no way" Blankenship can win in November, and national Republican groups have spent money trying to defeat him.

Blankenship says if Washington Republicans sat down with him for two hours, they would be doing everything they could to elect him.


6:55 p.m.

One precinct in a North Carolina county will accept voters past the statewide closing time for the polls after the location failed to open its doors on time for the primary.

The state elections board voted late Tuesday to extend voting hours at the Hoke County precinct until 7:45 p.m. Polls statewide close at 7:30 p.m. Election officials told the state board the poll location opened 45 minutes late Tuesday morning, and two people left during the delay.

The state board declined to extend time at a Franklin County precinct located at an elementary school that was locked down briefly because of a nearby shooting.

Voters in North Carolina are choosing their parties' nominees for dozens of legislative and congressman primary races. There are also primary races in Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana on Tuesday.


4:25 p.m.

Voters across four states that Donald Trump carried in 2016 are fanning out to decide primary elections.

In West Virginia, Tuesday's primary includes races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and the Legislature. The big race to watch is the Republican primary for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin's seat. One of the candidates is Don Blankenship, who served prison time for a deadly mine accident.

Indiana voters are casting ballots in a three-way race for the Republican U.S. Senate seat nomination. Vice President Mike Pence's brother Greg is hoping to get the Republican nod for an open congressional seat.

In Ohio, voters are choosing their gubernatorial nominees and a Republican U.S. Senate candidate.

And in North Carolina, voters are picking their parties' nominees for dozens of legislative and congressional primary races.



Donald Trump's political action committee is airing ads in West Virginia urging Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to support his pick to run the CIA.

The ads paid for by America First are running as Republican primary voters decide Tuesday who will face the second-term Democrat in a fall election both parties see as critical to Senate control.

In the ad, CIA director nominee Gina Haspel is described as "a decorated intelligence officer admired by allies around the globe with bipartisan support."

Haspel is acting director and would be the first woman to be confirmed. She has faced questions about involvement in the intelligence agency's past program of detaining and brutally interrogating terrorism suspects.

The ad concludes: "Call Sen. Manchin. Tell him to support Gina Haspel for CIA director."


12:10 a.m.

Voters in the heart of Trump country are ready to decide the fate of Don Blankenship, a brash businessman and GOP outsider with a checkered past who is testing the appeal of President Donald Trump's outsider playbook in one of the nation's premiere U.S. Senate contests.

Voters across four states Trump carried in 2016 are deciding primary elections Tuesday. The stakes are high as the GOP braces for potential major losses this fall.

Trump warned Monday that a Blankenship win in West Virginia's Republican primary would destroy the party's chance of defeating Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November.

The retired coal executive was released from prison last year for his role in a mine explosion that killed 29 men. Blankenship says no one will tell West Virginians how to vote.

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