CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS/AP) — Don Blankenship officially announced he is running as a candidate for the Constitution Party in the 2020 presidential election on Monday, November 11, 2019. West Virginia Constitution Party chairman Jeffrey-Frank Jarrell originally said Blankenship made the announcement Saturday, October 19, 2019, during the party’s national committee meeting in Pittsburgh.
Blankenship finished third in the 2018 Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat held by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. Blankenship’s general election bid to run as the Constitution Party’s nominee was then blocked. The secretary of state cited the state’s “sore loser” law prohibiting major-party primary candidates who lose from switching to a minor party.
Blankenship is also the former CEO of Massey Energy, which owned Upper Big Branch Mine where an explosion killed 20 workers in 2010. He spent a year in federal prison. Now, a federal judge is recommending tossing Bankenship’s conviction out for conspiring to violate mine safety laws.