What is one to do in the face of dragging poll numbers? Don Blankenship, a U.S. Senate candidate and West Virginia coal baron who is currently polling last in a three-way Republican primary race, offered up one answer on Tuesday: refer to the GOP’s Senate leader as “Cocaine Mitch” out of nowhere in the last seconds of an ad spot.
If you were wondering how is he possibly going to transition to ‘cocaine Mitch’?? throughout the first 20 seconds of watching Blankenship monotonously drone on, I promise you are not alone. (The trick is that there is no transition and no explanation!) Here’s the full transcript of the ad (emphasis added):
Politicians are running a lot of crazy ads. They blew up the coal mine and then put me in prison. Now they’re running ads saying the coal mine blew up and I went to prison. There’s no surprise there. But if you want jobs, if you want to end the drug epidemic, and you want to protect the unborn, you need to vote for me. One of my goals as U.S. senator will be to ditch Cocaine Mitch. When you vote for me you’re voting for the sake of the kids.
As you can see, Blankenship really just throws “Cocaine Mitch” in there after boosting a conspiracy theory that it was actually the politicians who framed him and blew up his coal mine. (Blankenship served a one-year prison sentence for presiding over the unsafe working conditions that caused an explosion and resulted in the death of 29 coal miners in 2010.)
Blankenship issued a press release to defend himself and explain what exactly he meant by “Cocaine Mitch,” pointing to a 2014 story in The Nation that reported cocaine was found on a ship owned by the company of Mitch McConnell’s father-in-law, James Chao. It’s not the first time Blankenship has targeted McConnell’s wife: He recently called Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao a “wealthy Chinaperson” on a West Virginia radio show, which is both very racist and a hilarious attempt at a being politically correct while still using a slur.
Blankenship might be a slimy Tim and Eric parody come to life, but he belongs to a party that—for as much as he claims to hate him—is very much a product of Mitch McConnell.