Don Blankenship To Run As Third-Party Candidate

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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West Virginia coal baron Don Blankenship announced he will run as a third-party candidate in the West Virginia Senate election Monday after losing the Republican primary.

Blankenship, who was defeated in the state’s GOP primary by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in early May, has decided he will run as a Constitution Party candidate, according to Politico. However, West Virginia law bans candidates who lose a main-party primary from entering the race as a third-party candidate in the general election, which is called the “sore loser” law, but Blankenship said he is ready to challenge the rule in court.

“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. (RELATED: Don Blankenship Sent Reporters A Dessert Plate With The Words ‘Ditch Mitch’)

The move comes as Blankenship, who ran his unsuccessful campaign as an anti-establishment candidate, was denounced by President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr., after Blankenship personally attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and made racist comments about his wife, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, also struggled in the primary election because he was convicted in 2015 of going around safety regulations that led to the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in 2010 that killed 29 coal miners. Blankenship was sentenced to serve one year in prison, and after he was released announced he would challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia for U.S. Senate.

If Blankenship is allowed to run in the race, he will be taking on both Morrisey and Manchin in the Nov. 6 general election.

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