>> Midterm election season kicks into gear on Tuesday, as primary voters head to the polls in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina. The Democrats and Republicans will be choosing their candidates for seats in the House and the Senate. First steps on a long road as the GOP tries to hold onto Capitol Hill amid a Democratic upsurge.
Jim Oliphant is reporting the story.>> The three key races to watch on Tuesday are Senate primaries in Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia. And that's because the Republicans that are running in each of these primaries are gonna take on an incumbent Senate Democrat in the fall.>> One of the running themes, the number of Republicans who have styled their candidacies after Donald Trump's successful run in 2016.
>> What you have in Indiana right now is we have two sort of what you might call establishment Republicans, Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, for the Republican nomination for Senate. And then there's this third guy, this outside guy Mike Braun, he's largely been a businessman his entire career.
So he's sort of very Trumpian, he's cast himself as the outsider, he refers to Rokita and Messer as swamp creatures. You have Mike Gibbons, another businessman, he's an investment banker in Ohio. He's trying for the Republican nomination there to take on Democrat's Sherrod Brown in the fall.>> I care about getting some things done.
>> And then most concerning for national Republicans is a guy named Don Blankenship in West Virginia, who's a former coal mining executive, facing off against two elected Republicans in their primary. And Republicans are very nervous about Blankenship, they see him as a flawed candidate. He's actually spent time in federal prison for some coal mining safety violations.
And what Republicans fear is they have a prime opportunity there to defeat Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Blankenship could cost them that opportunity.>> On Monday, Trump took the unusual step of wading into the West Virginia contest, telling voters on Twitter to steer clear of Blankenship.>> So devoted.
>> The theme to all three of these primaries is that there is no daylight between any of these candidates and Donald Trump. They support maybe building the wall and border security and some of the more protectionist measures that this administration has been proposing. There's nobody who's criticizing the president for going too far, for his work on Twitter, or for Stormy Daniels or anything else.