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Don Blankesnhip, GOP Senate candidate in West Virginia. Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Republican Senate candidates in West Virginia, Indiana and Ohio are trying to out-Trump Trump — but it's the West Virginia race that everyone will be watching.

The big picture: These Senate races are a good example of what the Republican Party looks like in the Trump era. If Don Blankenship — who claims to be "Trumpier than Trump" but is being compared to Roy Moore — prevails in the GOP Senate primary, it'll be a sign that the party can't convince its voters to avoid the least electable candidates.

Blankenship is the Republican Party's last choice. And Trump doesn't want him, either.

  • The president co-endorsed Patrick Morrisey — the state's first Republican attorney general since 1933 — and Evan Jenkins, a three-year U.S. congressman in the state's 3rd district. Both have played up their support for Trump.

What to watch: Senate races and candidates across the country are shaping up to be all about Trump and who is most like him. We're even seeing that in NRSC ads.

  • Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita, running to challenge Sen. Joe Donnelly, campaigns with a cardboard cutout of Trump, wears a MAGA hat, and calls the Robert Mueller probe a "witch hunt."
  • His challengers: Rep. Luke Messer has pledged to "make the Senate great again." And Mike Braun has run as the outsider businessman pledging to "drain the swamp." Sound familiar?
  • Ohio Republican candidate Rep. Jim Renacci has Trump's endorsement, while his challenger Mike Gibbons is a businessman with no political experience.

The impact: Democratic senators in West Virginia, Indiana and Ohio are extremely vulnerable. But Republicans worry if the wrong GOP candidate advances to the general, they'll lose what they think are otherwise winnable seats.

Go deeper

Ex-Theranos CEO describes alleged abuse by former boyfriend and company exec

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

On her fourth day of trial testimony, ex-Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes described her 10-year romantic relationship with former president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani as controlling, and said he would sometimes "force me to have sex with him when I didn’t want to."

Why it matters: While Balwani has also been similarly charged with fraud, the two are being tried separately, in part because some of Holmes' defense hinges on blaming him.

Amazon ordered to redo union vote in Alabama

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

A U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official on Monday called for a re-vote in a union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.

Why it matters: The move could set the stage for another organizing drive at the e-commerce giant, which has, so far, fought off unionizing efforts in the U.S.

Pentagon to probe 2019 Syria strike after reports of dozens of civilian casualties

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Nov. 20. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new investigation into a 2019 U.S. airstrike that killed around 80 people, including dozens of women and children in Syria, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The move comes after the Times reported this month that the Pentagon attempted to keep the strike and casualties under wraps, failing to investigate the decision behind it even after questions were raised internally.