Don Blankenship is not going away quietly, much to the dismay of Republican leadership who have high hopes of defeating incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in November.
On Monday, the former coal executive announced his intent to run in West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race on the Constitution Party line, pitting him against Manchin and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who won the Republican nomination against Blankenship nearly two weeks ago.
“It is especially appropriate for me to be nominated by the Constitution Party given its staunch and uncompromising commitment to upholding the United States Constitution,” Blankenship said in a statement.
“My First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights were violated when I was falsely charged and politically imprisoned following the unfortunate mining accident at Upper Big Branch—a tragedy wholly caused by the actions of the establishment and the federal government,” Blankenship said, referring to the death of 29 miners during a 2010 explosion at a mine his company owned.
“It is no surprise then that the establishment has worked so hard to cover-up the truth. In fact, were it not for the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a jury trial the Obama Department of Justice would have tyrannically and maliciously imprisoned me for life.”
Blankenship, who has refused to endorse Morrisey and ran a bizarre and racist campaign in which he railed against “Cocaine Mitch” McConnell and his “China family,” would have to overcome a “sore loser” clause in West Virginia’s state law to be on the ballot in November.
“Candidates affiliated with a recognized political party who run for election in a primary election and who lose the nomination cannot change her or his voter registration to a minor party organization/unaffiliated candidate to take advantage of the later filing deadlines and have their name on the subsequent general election ballot,” the clause in the Secretary of State's guidebook for running campaigns in 2018 reads.
Blankenship suggested on Monday that he'd be willing to fight this in court however, causing more headaches as the campaign goes on.
“Although the establishment will likely begin their efforts against us by mounting a legal challenge to my candidacy, we are confident that—if challenged—our legal position will prevail, absent a politically motivated decision by the courts,” he said.